Issue 3

Peter Sansom
Four Poems


Day-in day-out without natural light the winter
they rationed butter and eggs (strikes;
the three day week) – for peanuts but even so,
despite the aisle on aisle of facing tins and jars
and the late hours in the warehouse, it was just
the best of times. One night we climbed
the stacked cases me and my best mate to sit
above the shift with cans of continental lager
high among the iron rafters. There was a party
at a girl’s and Lindisfarne’s Nicely Out Of Tune
to take to it – and though years later they pumped
my stomach because of her, what matters is
nobody missed us or happened to look up
between clocking-in and our stint last thing
horsing with the cardboard bailer. Canada,
he lives now, and I of course live here,
though in many ways we’re still up there. Cheers.

Shalesmoor, Sheffield

Turning off eventually out of a jam,
I park up down the side street of another country –
Furnace Hill and Foundry Court, and Snow Lane in August,
all of it derelict to the point of grass on roofs
and rosebay willowherb gawping from what’s left
of windows on this unguided walk. I look twice
at two girls with pints and a dog in front of no pub –
only Cook’s (Bearings) Ltd (To Let) – and walk through
their back and forth ‘He never was’ ‘he was’ ‘he never,’
so oblivious they might be ghosts, or I might.
The shell of The Princess Works of Stavely Brass Co
dwarfs the prefab of Newland UPVC; then,
cresting Scotland Street, I come out at West Bar’s
state of the art cranes, hi-rise closing in
like combines flushing out the last wildlife
and razing the rare botany of die-cast and smeltings
down the pig-iron valley of yesteryear. I turn.
Yanks once touted the world’s thinnest filament
to a firm round here, only to get it back
bored along its length. I like remembering that.
For answer, a carrier bag tumbleweeds past, startling me
and the girls and their dog no longer there.

Pop Bottle

Better than pop in fact, the water swigged
from the bottle we took turns to carry
through the sweltering summer down the gardens
(fields and allotments), the lane (‘unadopted’)
of no-puddles in the pot-holes and mother-die
white we pushed through head high at the stile.
It’s still heavy that glass, dimpled at the neck
like frost later, a world on the window
when you pulled back the curtains for school,
still dark behind it, black in fact, despite the snow.

A Straw Hat

On a hook by the window, with another
that the youngest outgrew. Here it is
knocked off by the wave I didn’t see,
laughing, a mouth full of sea. But yours
where did it go, last-minute-anywhere-hot hat,
‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ all we could say
by the pool, or a dusty train into the mountains. Gone,
while this persists, a real dad’s hat,
under the tree he never had, the books
he never read, unravelling at the edge of shade, sweat
in the salt-stained band. I tip it back. Shoot me
if I wear it into town or a steady walk
to the pub. It bobs like a cork in the past
and present world, I take it off to you
love of my life, light of my life, willing
to walk with me even in a hat like this.