Ian Parks (British Working Class Poets)

Ian Parks

Ian Parks is a poet and academic. He is the author of eight collections of poems, one of which was a Poetry Book Society Choice. His versions of the modern Greek poet Constantine Cavafy were shortlisted for the Michael Marks Award. He is the editor of Versions of the North: Contemporary Yorkshire Poetry and The Selected Poems of Harold Massingham. His own Selected Poems is due from Calder Valley Poetry in 2023. 

 

 

Three unpublished poems

 

The Golden Mile

 

That’s where you got started

my father once said,

pointing across the sand-blown track

to the first floor room of a Blackpool hotel,

a hot blush rising in my mother’s cheeks.

It must have been their honeymoon:

the bitter spring of 1958 -

the Tower Ballroom where they danced,

the chiffon dress that she would keep

until the day she died;

my father in his shirtsleeves

at the window, leaning out

smoking a woodbine

as the lit-up trams complete

their circuit of the Golden Mile

and me nothing more than a twinkle

in his dark, proverbial eye.

 

Solstice

 

I’ll tell you how the moon looks here:

a silver goddess arching through the sky

 

on this the shortest day of this short year.

We traced its phases when apart

 

From different windows, different towns

but feel its tidal pull inside the heart.

 

Full or crescent, pale or bright

it tells the history of you and I

 

in printed pages pure and clear –

it trembles on the edge of sight.

 

Purple, black, vermillion, blue:

put on your soft and tactile gowns,

 

wear all the colours of the night

and ask me how they look on you.

 

Catalonia (1936-39)

 

Your women and your children weep for you,

your voice has fallen silent

and your pleading hands are tied.

Your cities sleep under a whitening dust.

The sun burns down unhindered

and the shadows gather long and hard

here on the open plain.

Your calls for freedom have all been denied.

The whisper of a promised change

runs through the damaged street

and in the streets a boy

who listens for the coming storm

and throws a skull form hand to hand

as if it were a toy. 

 

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