Friday, 27 December 2013

The Pose

Stand there,
Not like that,
Like this,
That’s right,
Just hold it,
Move your hand,
Turn you’re your feet,
Toes apart,
Comb your hair
Look this way,
Turn to me,
You, not you,
That’s just right,
Hold it there,
Keep it still,
A great big smile,
Say cheese,
Hold it,
Nice one.

As mentioned elsewhere I have a preoccupation with photography and snapshot photography in particular. This is one of the first poems I wrote.

Alistair J Parker

27th December 2013

Thursday, 12 December 2013

The Walk to Church

Make a decision
Where to pray?
Long walk or short walk
Where to today

Rosie or Edith
Mary or Peter
Modern metallic
Or cosy and old

Which church to go to
I need to be bold
Mary is modern
Peter is old

Mary is nearer
But Peter has soul
Rosie likes Mary
For Edith no choice

Decisions, decisions
But what of my feet
If I choose Mary
A short walk I’ll make

Peter is further
But with richer returns
Dandy and Beano
Our Wullie and Broons

Mary its closer
But pops the reward
Schofields big bottles
Clip top and all

Peter looks favourite
Despite the long way
Dandy and Beano
What can one say

I spent much of my childhood, particularly weekends and school holidays with my grandmother, Aunties Edith and Rose, Uncle's Ron and Alan, quite a house full. They lived at 35 Bath Street, part of Liverpools dock road, a mile north from the Pier Head. Being good Catholics, one of the rituals from an early age was church on Sunday. I had to choose between Auntie Edith who preferred St Peters, Seel  Street, a longish walk across the deserted city centre. Or Auntie Rose who frequented the local parish church of St Mary, Highfield Street, a slightly shorter walk away. For a small boy both options had there attractions but Auntie Edith resorted to out and out bribery. It was her job on a Sunday to pick up the Sunday papers from a quaint newsagent in Moorefields. The shop was crammed from floor to ceiling with papers, books and magazines a veritable grotto of envy. No contest…

Alistair Parker
12th December 2013

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

My Old Mate - The Yodeller

A yodel outside
Could mean just one thing
It’s my mate Leo, time to play out

He’s scared of me grandma
He won’t knock at the door
She doesn’t like knocking, don’t knock on the door

Let’s go the Barrelly
A wondrous place
For climbing and digging, to get dirt on your face

Soaring great warehouses
Tower all round
Cooing of pigeons and echoing sounds

Back to the bommy
For footy and tick
Cinders and dirt, fly up when you kick

Under the wagons
Sacks piled up high
Bulging with peanuts, hauled up in the sky

Leaking all over
We scrabble and grab
Stuffing our pockets and any odd bag

Standing on cobbles
And chewing their chaff
Horses wait quietly, just want to get back

Dirty and weary, we wander off home
Hungry and thirsty, what is for tea?
Taters and gravy are waiting for me

Can’t wait for tomorrow
For Leo to call,
Yodelling loudly, we’ll be off to play ball

Yodelling Leo, he’ll be back again
Yodelling Leo, don’t knock on the door
Yodelling Leo, he’s what mates are for

Leo was my first real mate. He lived around the corner from my grandma, just off the dock road in Denison Street, once the most disease riddled street in Liverpool. For us it was one big adventuire playground and the place I spent most of my formative years.

Alistair Parker - 4th December 2013

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Streets of Water - (The Cut)

Straight path, tight rope, clip clop
Hear the silence
Singing birds and lapping water

Pulling tons as if not there
Coal and Coke, Rock and Stone
Slowly, slowly, all day long

Smell the smoke the tea can’s on
Relax for now, the works to come
Look the locks, steep and grand

A rest for the horse
While we lock up and down
Winding the paddles, water flows down

Spishing and splashing, gurgle and grind
The boats on the move now
Steer from behind

Lock after lock, majestic and grand
The steps to heaven
Are built to stand

Up over the bridge and along the path
I think of the men we have to thank
Who cut the clay and shaped the bank

They dug the cut with shovel and toil
To move the rock and old King Coal
With tightened rope and plodding gate
These streets of water made us great

Inspired by a visit to the Leeds Liverpool Canal at Wheeldon and the "Top Lock" pub, I think.

Alistair Parker
3rd December 2013

Monday, 2 December 2013

Walk to the Shore

Walk To The Shore
Crunch on the pebbles
Step over the stones
Cross the neat grass
Lift the latch
Hear the squeak
Rattle the chain
Think of a harness
Back on the hook
Make sure it’s closed

Mind the cow pat
Follow the dyke
A wiggly path
Winds down the hill
This way and that
Spot the odd rabbit
There used to be more

Hear the sweet singing
What did it say
Bread with no cheers it repeats all the day
Yellow and noisy it hammers a song
One step more, keep going along
Notice the orchids
Notice some more

The little brown berries
In piles everywhere
Left by the bunnies
Left everywhere
Look there’s a burrow
Deep down in the ground
Home for a rabbit
Home in the ground

Taste the blackberries
All warm lush and round
Sun always shining
It shines every day
Over the stile now
Sweet smell of hay
It’s still early morning
Best time of the day

There is the sea
We’re nearly there
Through the rough grass
Mind the gorse spikes
Sloes in abundance
Lovely with gin
See the sand, close now
The smell of the sea

Clack through the pebbles
All tumbling down
Look for the white ones
Look that’s one there
Feel the sand crunchy
On feet that are bare
Look its Man Friday
A footprint is there

Hear the waves crashing
Up onto the rocks
Skim the stones seaward
Bounce off the waves
Hear the shrill call
The birds of the sea
A Peewit is calling
Plaintive and haunting

Memories flow
This magical place
I once loved to go
I feel a tear forming
The memory is dear
Seems a long time
Since I have walked there

This is the first poem I wrote. I was driving to University and in a nostalgic moment I visualised the walk to to the shore that was such an important part of childhood holidays. I desperately tried to keep the words in my head so that I could write them down as soon as I stopped.The poem was inspired by the walk from the Barracks, my paternal Grandfathers home, down to the shore, a path of about 600 yards The Barracks, a partly ruined stone built farmhouse, was situated at a place called Auchenmalg, at the head of Luce Bay, the south westerly tip of Scotland in the county of Wigtownshire, now Dumfries and Galloway, on the side of a hill looking towards the Isle of Man, which you could see on a clear day. The place derived its name from its former usage as a place to house the local militia who kept an eye open for smugglers The path down to the shore was a magical pathway into a new and exciting world that tingled the senses with new sounds and smells It was a place I visited every year for 16 years and is a place to which I still have to return.

Alistair Parker
2nd December 2013