jingle jingle!

jingle jingle!


durham miners' gala!

east berlin 1990



The Grace Darling League
must be one of those 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.

In your Museum,
the Flotsam & Jetsam
drifts on a becalmed Bamburgh day.
A sharp sunlight cuts through the church window:

‘Out of the Deep have I called unto Thee’;

‘Charity, Faith & Hope’.

These tangled words that make up our lives,
the tattered wrecks, flaked skins.

I stare in awe at a piece of the Oar you used,
constructing a jigsaw of your life:

here is a scrap of your dress,
a throb of your ‘English Heart’;

here, locked up, a lock of your hair,
a handbag containing your thoughts;

and ‘There’s The Girl That I Love Dearly’,
a storm in a teacup,

a National Heroine of Japan

who coughed herself to death

like a seagull choking in oil,

like the bloodshot wreck of a dying Empire:

‘Saving Grace’,
save our souls:

Save Our Souls.


(as published in 'Grace Darling: Victorian Herione' by Hugh Cunningham, Continuum, 2007)




Never so swept with wind,
never so wet.
Our bones rattling in its carriages,
the train, blown across the fields,
tears into the heart of Leeuwarden,
a town freezing
with Frisian breath.

I came to sing
but my song was soaked
by the sobbing sky.
The whole country opened up
and drenched us
in a bitter history.

I had left my umbrella at home
to protect my friends
from the patter of Councillors.
Now I needed to shelter in a woman’s warmth,
read her my poems,
to make all her limbs
melt round me,

kiss me hard
in downtown Leeuwarden;

in all its wetness,
throw me roughly

to the wild land.

Keith Armstrong

the jingling geordie

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