Oldham: 1970 – by Marg Roberts

 

Saturday afternoon at the Watersheddings
wrapped in parka, woollen mittens
stout shoes and thick stockings,
I remember the click of the Boys and
Ladies’ turnstile, standing next to dad
though he was hundreds of miles away.

Play up, Owdham! We shouted hoarse.
Wind and rain buffeted booted bare legs
bums in mud shorts. Despair drowned in
half time Bovril, recollections of winning ways.
Fog never stopped play. Hookers and scrums
melted out of sight in swirling Pennine mists.

Among the echoes of Lowry streets and mills
just for a while the roar of hope was all.

 

 

Marg’s poetry has been published in several magazines including Orbis, Reach, Cannon’s Mouth, Message in a Bottle and Ink, Sweat & Tears. She was Warwick’s poet laureate 2009-10. Her novel, A Time for Peace, was published by Cinnamon Press in October 2016. You can read more of her work here.

Testaments of Youth – by Marg Roberts

 

Listening to you, whistling at the sink, hands swishing
tea towel tucked in your belt, sleeves rolled to the elbow,
setting sun gleaming on hair that whitened overnight
for reasons you, a peaceful man, cannot share.

You tell me, you kissed goodbye to your bride –
The Only Girl in the World for you – she smiling
waving, steam shrouded – on packed Paragon
station, egg sandwich squashed in your pocket.

I cried reading Vera’s Brittain’s story. Her loss
of Roland, Edward, Robert and Victor, and Oh!
What a Lovely War! was not for you,
nor words like grief or sadness. Yet you, my sunny
Granddad, taught me the French for bread
was pain.

 

 

 

Marg’s poetry has been published in several magazines including Orbis, Reach, Cannon’s Mouth, Message in a Bottle and Ink, Sweat & Tears. She was Warwick’s poet laureate 2009-10. Her novel, A Time for Peace, was published by Cinnamon Press in October 2016. You can read more of her work here.