jingle jingle!

jingle jingle!

24.9.13

FOR EDWARD ELLIOT OF EARSDON (1800-1867)



(Stonemason and poet responsible for the Hartley Pit Disaster memorial in Earsdon churchyard)


“IN THE MIDST OF LIFE WE ARE IN DEATH.” 

Chip chip chip,
the rain sinks
into Ned Elliot’s shoulders
as his hands
carve the dead names
into the slab.
The tragedy
weighs down his spirit,
renders him thirsty
for the light.
Chip chip chip,
you breathe the name of Thomas Coal
aged thirty seven,
recite the deaths of boys
as young as ten.
You chisel
through the disastrous list,
the litany of lost dreams.
It is such a burden,
the flood of widows’ tears
gushing through
the village,
rendering the churchyard
a swamp of hurt.

This is true
community spirit,
a man who lived
to mark the dead
in stone,
making a living
by honouring others.
Your own name
is ingrained in Earsdon,
ringing
down the years
a sacrifice
from the quarry
of suffering,
one of your 
dialect poems
still coursing 
in us.


“FOR WHATSOEVER A MAN SOWETH,
THAT SHALL HE ALSO REAP.”



KEITH ARMSTRONG



the jingling geordie

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