The Pitman Painter – by Tom Moody

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For Jack Harrison, the pitman painter who loved light.

Out before back-shift starts
breathing the air’s clean sting.
Setting up paint and easel
A cold dawn, the light thin.

The Staithes are glazed black.
Snow crystals crust the handrail,
sharp, bright as crushed coal.
The air – soundless, frozen, still.

The horizon is a dark screen
that sieves the slow sunrise.
One thread trickles through
to streak gold on grey waters.

A boat chugs out of the haze.
Not Temeraire; the squat ash-barge
barely makes way against the ebb.
A dark curl runs from bow to bank.

Under the timber deck
a spreading ripple,
a rhythmic cat-lap
that licks each pile.

 

 

 

A former nurse, Tom was a ‘late starter’ in writing and is trying to make up lost time. He has had articles published in journals, written a prize winning short radio script for BBC Newcastle and was a prize winner in last year’s New Writing North Crime Short Story competition. He has had several poems published in Orbis and has just completed an MA in creative writing at Newcastle University.

A Cold Dawn – by Tom Moody

 

Light seeps into the estuary.
The river’s edge is blurred.
Air, at dew point, cadaver cold.

A mercury tide, floods.
Onto the silver slack’s mud-flats
a ripple slaps, a slow pulse.

No gibbet now in the tideway.
No corpse hangs, a warning to all,
make no change, make no challenge.

The horizon ignites; blood-red.
Black, on the pylon’s scaffold,
twelve Herons stand like stone.

Hump-backed and brooding.
As dark as Jobling’s judge.
As pitiless as priests.

 

 

 

A former nurse, Tom was a ‘late starter’ in writing and is trying to make up lost time. He has had articles published in journals, written a prize winning short radio script for BBC Newcastle and was a prize winner in last year’s New Writing North Crime Short Story competition. He has had several poems published in Orbis and has just completed an MA in creative writing at Newcastle University.

Last Resort – by Tom Moody

 

The steep cobbled streets
echo the click of killer-heels,
the shrill-as-seagull shrieks
of improbably young mothers.

Daily, turned-out from lodgings,
they heedlessly wheel their pram,
ignore their bawling infants
in favour of Facebook friends.

The promenade is patrolled
by the old, sour and scowling.
Those who, hating foreign food,
risk crumbling clifftop rooms,

take tea in jaded hotels
that throb with tropical heat.
Basking like ancient lizards
unblinking and scaly skinned.

Eye-watering, the harbour
stinks of long-forgotten fish,
seagull shit, the spun sugar
of neon-pink candy-floss.

With mock-jock tartan decor
Big Dick’s fish-bar’s menu
offers cholesterol and innuendo,
to tempt overweight matrons.

Drunks shamble; unshaven,
ash-streaked, piss-stained,
drag on thin roll-ups.
Weave to no fixed abode,

past disapproving cafés,
a fucked-up funicular,
to lie on grey sheets
in a room with no heat.

 

 

 

A former nurse, Tom was a ‘late starter’ in writing and is trying to make up lost time. He has had articles published in journals, written a prize winning short radio script for BBC Newcastle and was a prize winner in last year’s New Writing North Crime Short Story competition. He has had several poems published in Orbis and has just completed an MA in creative writing at Newcastle University.