in a New Town,
we watch the sea roll,
through the fallen leaves
and cracked houses.
You whisper to me.
‘It’s the place to be’:
this misty dream,
this bird hanging from a tree,
this windblown giro-world.
Across the flat-roofs,
we danced and skipped
over the puddles and the nightmares.
The clouds hung in our eyes.
Older now, wize and wizened,
we stare from our windows in Sunny Blunts
and feel our skin peel.
‘Peter Lee is the Man in the Moon,’
we tell our kids,
‘he’s where it’s at.’
A stray dog barks in the moonlight.
Tonight, newspapers swept across grass,
it’s time to find
a New Moon,
a new New Town.
Keith Armstrong was founder of East Durham Writers' Workshop
and the Durham Voices community publishing series.
He has compiled and edited books on the Durham Miners’ Gala and on the former mining
communities of County Durham. He was Community Arts Development Worker (1980-6)
with Peterlee Community Arts (later East Durham Community Arts)
and was awarded a doctorate in 2007 for his work on Newcastle writer Jack Common at the
University of Durham where he received a BA Honours Degree in
Sociology in 1995 and Masters Degree in 1998 for his studies on regional culture in the North
East of England.
He has also held residencies in Durham, Easington, Sedgefield, Derwentside, Teesdale and
His commissioned work includes ‘Suite for the River Wear’ (with Dreaming North) (1989) for
BBC Radio; and ‘The Little Count’ (with Andy Jackson and Benny Graham) (1993) for Durham
County Council. He was the Judge for the Sid Chaplin Short Story Awards in 2000.
He has long pioneered cultural exchanges with Durham’s twinning partners, particularly Tuebingen
and Nordenham in Germany and Ivry-sur-Seine and Amiens in France. In fact, he has visited Tuebingen
over 30 times since he first spent a month there in November 1987 as poet-in-residence supported
by Durham County Council and the Kulturamt, and he has performed his poetry in the city’s Hoelderlin
Tower and, on four occasions, as part of its Book Festival.
Posted by keith armstrong at 7:11 pm