BACK IN TUEBINGEN IN NOVEMBER FOR TUEBINGEN/DURHAM 30TH ANNIVERSARY ANTHOLOGY LAUNCH

BACK IN TUEBINGEN IN NOVEMBER FOR TUEBINGEN/DURHAM 30TH ANNIVERSARY ANTHOLOGY LAUNCH

17.9.13

JOSEPH SKIPSEY HERITAGE EVENTS



FOR JOE SKIPSEY: THE PITMAN POET OF PERCY MAIN (1832-1903)


‘He’ll tell his tale o’er a pint of ale,
And crack his joke, and bad
Must be the heart who loveth not
To hear the Collier Lad.’ (Skipsey)


To be a pitman poet
you drag words
out of the seam of a dictionary,
write against the grain
all the time
feeling the pain
of a small education,
scribbling in the dark
for a bright spark
germ of a poem.
Hewing
for rhymes,
ducking 
in case the roof
of the verse
caved in on you,
Joe
it was bloody hard 
to learn,
to craft a line
from the black pit
when the whole world
weighed down on you.
A man was forced
to sing,
to render a ballad
like a lamp in the tunnel,
scraping an education
from coal,
crawling along bookshelves
to find daylight,
Shakespeare,
Shelley
and melody
in the stacks
of an underground library.




KEITH ARMSTRONG

HARTLEY PIT DISASTER JANUARY 16TH 1862


‘What was it there on Hartley heap, caused the mother and child to weep?’ (George Cooke)


Cold January’s gripped our throbbing hearts and torn them.
Still the sea rolls on.

This earth’s bowells stink of our loved one’s deaths,
the air tastes foul.
Still the sea rolls on.

They don black gloves,
drag out the bodies one by one.
The death-stained faces seem to smile.
Still the sea rolls on.

We are the widows of Hartley,
our men and boys are dead,
our lives cracked open,
damp corpses in our beds.
Still the sea rolls on.

We clutch cold messages from Dukes and Queens,
we wipe the coal dust from our widowed eyes.
The coffin makers’ heavy hammers beat,
keep time with lapping parlour clocks,
and still
the sea rolls on,
still the sea rolls on.

Still the sea,

we are the widows of Hartley,
our men and boys are dead.

Take away your stumbling words and

GIVE US BREAD.



KEITH ARMSTRONG



KEITH ARMSTRONG PERFORMING HIS JOSEPH SKIPSEY POEM AT THE  
HARTLEY PIT DISASTER MEMORIAL, ST. ALBAN'S CHURCH, EARSDON, WHITLEY BAY, SATURDAY 14TH SEPTEMBER 2013, AS PART OF HERITAGE OPEN DAYS EVENT TO MARK THE 110TH ANNIVERSARY OF SKIPSEY'S DEATH.






CHRIS HARRISON, GREAT GREAT GRANDSON OF SKIPSEY, PERFORMING SKIPSEY'S 'THE HARTLEY CALAMITY' POEM AT THE SAME EVENT.






THE SAWDUST JACKS FOLK GROUP (WITH ST. ALBAN'S CHURCH CHOIR) WHO PERFORMED THEIR HARTLEY SONG 'BROTHERS, SONS AND DADS', IN THE CHURCH AFTER THE RECITATIONS AND MUSIC AT THE HARTLEY MEMORIAL. 


Above photos: Chris Bishop





CHRIS HARRISON PERFORMING SKIPSEY AT THE RED HOUSE, NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ON THURSDAY 12TH SEPTEMBER 2013.

Above photo: Peter Dixon

COMMENTS:

Tony Morris:



Great reception at Red House, Quayside, Newcastle last night for Northern Voices Mining Heritage Project. Lovely audience. Thank you Keith Armstrong.

David Williams:


An excellent tribute to the "Pitman Poet" Joseph Skipsey by Keith Armstrong and "Open Mic" at the Red House

Catherine Graham: 

Thank you to all the lovely people who came along to The Red House tonight, it was lovely to meet everyone - a great night!


Brian Hall:
Praise from the Hall Clan to the Armstrong Clan.........thought you ran last night really well, and a good combination. I enjoyed it, well done.



Robert Lonsdale:

Enjoyed an absolutely brilliant night of exceptional poetry and music at the " Red House " hosted by the legendary Keith Armstrong , many thanks to everyone there. Already looking forward to your next event Keith,

Chris Harrison:

Thanks or giving me the opportunity to sing at these two events.  I was really pleased to be able to do it.

Do let me know about any future events.


Elaine Cusack:

Really enjoyed yesterday's event at Hartley, Keith.


John Leslie (the Sawdust Jacks):

Thanks for the poems and for the opportunity of performing at Earsdon. We enjoyed rehearsing with the choir and I think our relationship may continue. The day was a great success and the feedback from your activities at the memorial was very good.
Thanks again.


Fiona Cullen (Newcastle City Council):

Many thanks for your participation throughout Tyne and Wear.


Chris Bishop (North Tyneside Council):


Best wishes and well done on the event.  


Andrew France (Vicar St. Alban's, Earsdon):


Thanks Keith. I thought it went well. 

the jingling geordie

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