Two new poems by Ian Parks

 

An interview with Ian, in which he discusses themes explored in the following poems, is up concurrently on Wild Court here.

 


 

    Jarrow March

 

Instead of revolution we have rain:
it seeps into the English soil
and permeates our lives.

Some stayed at home and made the pit-wheel turn,
some manned the barricades in Spain
and came back changed by what they saw –

the bombed-out cities and the ruined squares,
or they put on their overcoats and caps
and took the long road south to Parliament.

The newsreel shows them smiling,
singing songs they’d learned by heart
from marching in a different kind of war,

despite the downpour and the roughness of the road.
Each had a woodbine dangling from his mouth.
They came back empty handed and unheard.

And now the last of them is dead
I look out on the dripping rain
and wonder what it meant

or what it means to live without a voice
in this bland, slipshod democracy
we need to reinvent.

 
 

    Shooting Stars

 

Here we have no shooting stars
to leave a trail across the northern skies.
Three hundred years of smoke and grime
obscured them from our sight.
It doesn’t stop us looking though:

the streets are filled with hopeful souls
who gather there to see
the stricken angels fall.
Your cities have polluted
our dark regions with their light.

Likewise you will not listen when we say:
divert your high-speed railway from our door
and stop the choking fume of cars;
give us back our clear cold winter night
and let our children see the shooting stars.

 

Ian Parks

About Ian Parks

Ian Parks was born in 1959 and is the author of eight collections of poems, including 'Shell Island', 'The Exile's House', 'Love Poems' and 'Citizens'. His poems have appeared in Poetry Review, The Times Literary Supplement, Modern Poetry in Translation, London Magazine, The Independent on Sunday, and Poetry ( Chicago). He has been Writing Fellow at De Montfort, Leicester and writer in residence at Gladstone's Library. He is editor of 'Versions of the North: Contemporary Yorkshire Poetry' and the Selected Poems of Harold Massingham. His translations of the modern Greek poet Constantine Cavafy, published by Calder Valley Poetry, were shortlisted for the Michael Marks Award. He currently runs the Read to Write Project in Doncaster.