Monday, 27 July 2015


‘They come from near and far to sit upon his eye
And stand upon his back on the hill so steep and high.’ (Thomas Goodrick)

Flying out of John Hodgson’s brilliant mind,
inspired by Harrison Weir’s artistic pen,
it took Tom Taylor to land you here 
in the ancient limestone 
of wind-mocked Roulston Scar Cliff.
Thirty two laboured to craft you,
driven by the very Soul of Creation.

They gave you the gift of witness from this hill
and you have seen an awful lot
and are not left alone.
Your fine legs are pinned
to the side of Yorkshire
and these Tykes have mounted and whitewashed you,
drawn on you out of loneliness,
and treasured you.

The rough days have flitted across your face
and the sun caressed your back.
Lovers have tried you on for size
and the skies have opened over you.

What wars, what landscaped wounds,
have passed you by.

Soldiers of God have marched on below you:
to stop your great heart hurting,
they hid you from the Nazis,
covered up your hail-lashed feelings.

Still, we will look after you,
knowing that you live on for future boys and girls
while we turn to rubble in Kilburn churchyard,
our eyes burn out,
our pulsing hearts close.

White Horse,
White Days
and Nights,
White Yorkshire Rose
in a colourful world:
this great steed belongs to all the Universe.

I do believe that 
John saw that. 
And we will continue
to feed this Horse’s lovely spirit
and, through its grace,
grow beautiful


Friday, 17 July 2015


Ever since the sixth form,
when I found you, 
a kindred Novocastrian
in a library book,
I seem to have followed in your steps,
stumbled after you 
in rain soaked lanes,
knocked on doors
in search of your stories.
For over forty years,
I have tracked
the movement of your pen
in streets you walked
and on cross country trains
from your own Newcastle
to Warrington
Newport Pagnell,
and back again.
I have given talks about you,
supped in your pubs,
strode along your paragraphs 
and river paths
to try to find
that urge in you
to write 
out of your veins
what you thought of things,
what made you tick
and your loved ones 
laugh and cry.
I tried to reach you in a thesis,
to see you as a lad in Heaton,
but I could never catch your breath
because I didn’t get to meet you
face to face,
could only guess
that you were like me:
a kind of kindly 
socialist writer
in a world
too cruel for words.


Thursday, 9 July 2015


Spider's in
The Half Moon afternoon,
eyes beaming under the peak of his cap;
a drinker's smile
from the salt of the earth.
He's dreaming of the raging sea
and he sups a fretting old pint;
getting ready to walk
over the teeming hill.
A drool in The Shakespeare,
a let-slip of a grin,
academic locals
jawing themselves still
in dark rooms
of a Durham past;
brass bands blessed
on rampant days,
waves tumbling
from a balcony.

Praise be to Spider,
honour his life,
the days spent
through a city of bars.