JINGLE ON MY SON!

JINGLE ON MY SON!
A doughty champion of his local culture.(Poet Tom Hubbard)Your performance at the city hall was soooooooooo good! Christoph thought it was excellent! (Carolyn)

21.1.20

MY FRIEND JACK COMMON










































 
























































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

Malvern,

Newport Pagnell,

Letchworth,

Yetminster,

Wallington 

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.





KEITH ARMSTRONG

 


Peter Common Well said Keith!


Dear kindly socialist writer - this is great - thanks a lot for sending it

Love
Pat


19.1.20

IN THE DEPARTMENT OF POETRY


‘Our paths may cross again, they may not. But I wish you success for the future. I don’t think you are a person who is easily defeated through life as you are by nature a peacock which shows at times its beautiful feathers.’               
(Margaretha den Broeden)


In the Department of Poetry something is stirring:
it is a rare bird shitting on a heap of certificates.
He bears the beautiful plumage of a rebel,
flying through the rigid corridors,
the stifling pall of academic twaddle.
He pecks at the Masters’ eggheads, 
scratches pretty patterns along the cold walls of poetic power.
He cares not a jot for their fancy Awards,
their sycophantic perambulations,
degrees of literary incest.
These trophies for nepotism 
pass this peculiar bird by
as he soars
high
above the paper quadrangle,
circling over the dying Heads of Culture,
singing sweet revolutionary songs, 
showing off
his brilliant wings
that fly him
into the ecstasy
of a poem.
 
KEITH ARMSTRONG

18.1.20

HOTEL UTOPIA



(for Tony Whittle)


In the Hotel Utopia,
we’re as happy as mortal sin.
You can hear an old man crying
through the city din.

There’s a tap that’s always dripping
and walls that are paper thin
and, in this Hotel Utopia,
we’re really dreaming.

There’s a picture in the bathroom
of a resort miles away
and the stairs creak like the old man’s lungs
as he lives another day.

Outside, the trams go tumbling past
and a young girl lights the glass.
It’s Amsterdam and more days lost
on the streets that run so fast.

Yes, here in the Hotel Utopia,
we’re as happy as mortal sin.
You can hear an old man crying
through the City din.

There’s a tap that’s always dripping
and walls that are paper thin
and, in this Hotel Utopia,
we’re really dreaming.

Remember Anne Frank passed this way
so you could grab some Speed,
get high on Sex and learn tp pray
for this City of Eternal Greed.

Take a canal boat, a Rembrandt Ride,
take a hippie down a diamond mine.
I’m a happy man but this City’s sad
and we’re running out of time.

Here, in the Hotel Utopia,
we’re as happy as mortal sin.
You can hear an old man crying
through the City din.

There’s a tap that’s always dripping
and walls that are paper thin
and, in this Hotel Utopia,
we’re really dreaming.

You can lose your eyes in a haze of dope,
you can drink your life to death.
Lying down, in these days of hope,
you’re running out of breath.

So pack your bags and fly away,
through the crowds on these Amstel streets.
Just one last whiff of a Tulip Day
and the weight is off your feet.

In the Hotel Utopia,
we’re as happy as mortal sin.
You can hear an old man crying
through the City din.

There’s a tap that’s aways dripping
and walls that are paper thin
and, in this Hotel Utopia,
we’re really dreaming.





KEITH ARMSTRONG



'Well Keith your beautiful poetry melts my heart, you know that don't you?

Good to see you writing about current politics, don't stop, our country may be depressing politically but the things that are happening are still brimming with meaning and young people today especially need to believe that poetry can be powerful.'
(Jen x)


16.1.20

SONG FOR ANNELIESE




























SONG FOR ANNELIESE

You can’t analyse Anneliese,
she has too free a view.
Anneliese flies through the breeze
And makes a dream come true.

She’s a free floater, not a voter.
There’s a song inside her head.
When she dances she prances, no disco romances;
She sways into my bed.

She’s a German daughter, no teacher taught her.
No nails can hold her down.
When she needs to, she’s free to, no rules to bow to;
She wears no fancy gown.

You can’t analyse Anneliese,
she has too free a view.
Anneliese flies through the breeze
And makes a dream come true.

She’s a true feminist, a brainy anarchist.
She has no hatred in mind.
She’ll love and she’ll give and try to forgive;
She’s not the possessive kind.

She’s a poet on skis, on a flying trapeze.
For her beliefs, she’ll travel miles.
She’s a constant surprise, she’s a gleam in my eyes;
I see planets in her smiles.

You can’t analyse Anneliese,
she has too free a view.
Anneliese flies through the breeze
And makes a dream come true.


KEITH ARMSTRONG

9.1.20

FOOTBALL POETRY












PIGGYBACK

My father took me piggyback
to the people's game.
I felt the surge of the Gallowgate End
beneath me
like the sea roaring
off Tynemouth.
I sensed the solidarity
of those football-mad days
and my little heart
swelled with a Magpie pride.
Black and white love
came to me early,
inherited down life's straining seasons.
The throbbing crowd
lifted me
over tough shoulders,
the passion
surging with me
to the front
where I could share
the yearning dreams
for just a little glory.
Those terraces lit up,
made the blue star glow.
We young and thirsty Geordies
learnt quickly
to get drunk
on the back
of flowing football.


I REMEMBER IVOR ALLCHURCH

Golden Boy,
I remember you
made me queue
with all the other Geordie lads
in one straight line
down the car park
for your autograph.
Patiently,
one by one,
you signed for us.
A Swansea son,
footballing gentleman,
all those years ago,
you impressed me
with your calm consideration:
a measured passer
of dignity
through generations.

 
*Ivor Allchurch (1929 -1997) played for Newcastle United 143 times between 1958 and 1962 and scored 46 goals.



'DAZZLER'
(in honour of Robert "Bobby" Carmichael Mitchell, 19/7/1924-8/4/1993)
 

Mine Host
of the twinkling left foot,
wing-raiding Scot,
this Border Reiver
was a man of magic,
made full backs disappear.
"Dazzler" we called him,
he tied the ball to his toes,
took it for a walk.
Wor Bobby bobbing along,
criss crossing
patterns
through flat defences.
His waving hair
streaked
under the waves
of "Popular Side" crowds:
classic moments
flickering on film,
roars on a soundtrack,
Cup goals laid
on a plate.




LEN IN BLACK AND WHITE(in memory of Len White, 23/3/1930-17/6/1994)

Len White
was a hammer.
He rammed in goals
like rivets into a ship.
Len in black and white,
belter of a heavy ball,
whacker of leather bullets
with crafty head and clever feet.
Me and my old schoolmate Peter
saw you lash the Wolves,
sending a screamer
through the posts
to ignite Gallowgate
and set the Magpies chanting.
Uncapped hat-trick scorer,
153 goals merchant,
you deserve
a statue
of your own,
dedicated
to the Skellow lad
who became a Geordie
and will always be.




SUN OVER ST. JAMES' PARK
Sun sets on Empire,
a football sinking in the sky.
Dreams are gone,
the kicks we had.
I see their ghosts in The Strawberry night:
Len White and George Eastham,
Gordon Hughes and Liam Tuohy,
Alf McMichael, Jimmy Scoular.
Roaring Boys of one hue or another:
Alan Suddick and Jim Smith,
John McGrath and Dick Keith,
Dave Hilley and Andy Penman.
Stalwart lads from an industrial past,
hold on to those memories.
Golden Balls of light
shine on the surface of The Tyne,
ripple in the mind.
Great times were had
and peanuts tanner a bag.
Swaying lads on the Popular Side,
Oxo down our throats.
Chuck us a cup,
we're thirsty.



KEITH ARMSTRONG




These poems were published in the Newcastle United fanzine 'True Faith' as part of my poet-in-residence stint with the magazine.

 http://footballpoets.org/poets/keith-armstrong/

7.1.20

ON THE OTHER SIDE OF TOWN













































ON THE OTHER SIDE OF TOWN

On the other side of town,
through the curtains of Haaggasse,
you can hear the blackbirds weeping in the night,
the screaming of a desolate widow
and the drains of history
gurgling with the blood of spilt dreams.

On the other side of town,
on the back walls of Bismarckstrasse,
you can see that tragedy lies waiting for you
in the deaths of moths and butterflies
and the dripping wings of oil-soaked dreamers,
crushed on the streets to drown out the singing in the trees.

On the other end of town,
on the moonlit paving stones of Gartenstrasse,
In the saddened lines of a refugee's poetry,
you can hear the crackle of a synagogue burning,
the crushing boots of a blinding ignorance
and the wretched tolling of bells repeating themselves.

On the other side of town,
In a lonely pension room,
there's a worn-out man who dresses himself
and his memories stick to the tips of his bootlaces
as he trails down the stairs
to stumble into another lost day.

On the other side of town,
in the Holzmarkt gutters where Hesse made poems,
more soldiers march to rape a young beauty,
kill the joy in a choirgirl's throat
and bring to an end the chance of a good God
or a heaven for beggars to dwell in.

On the other side of town,
in the shadows that only Payerstrasse knows,
you will find me and my solitary pen scraping away
to throw rhymes down my neck
and sink into the insane night,
with a town clocks’ hands trembling in the dark rain.



KEITH ARMSTRONG


25.12.19

LANGE GASSE 18





 




























LANGE GASSE 18

The leaves blow through the glass
as dreams float in the room
and people I have travelled with
climb up these timbered stairs.
Memories coat the walls,
days wander down the lane;
there is no telling where the tales
of drunken nights have gone.
Church bells punctuate the moon,
screams open up the dawn,
and I see Jennifer lying there,
poems oozing from her smiles.
At morning, Ingrid, with her little hands,
brings coffee to my brain
and Karin calls at evening’s door
with wine to ease the pain.
All these dancing moments,
the dripping down of hours;
this house’s chest is heaving
with the loss of human touch.
I drink those sunken days
and know the gulps are fleeting
but the moonlight-stains on the empty bed
will show we bled
for love.


 

KEITH ARMSTRONG,
                                                                                 
Tuebingen, Germany.




















the jingling geordie

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whitley bay, tyne and wear, United Kingdom
poet and raconteur