Poem Of The Week 'William Blake In The Bridge Hotel' by Keith Armstrong
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WILLIAM BLAKE IN THE BRIDGE HOTEL
A few pints of Deuchars and my spirit is soaring.
The child dances out of me,
goes running down to the Tyne,
while the little man in me wrestles with a lass
and William Blake beams all his innocence in my glass.
And the old experience sweats from a castle’s bricks
as another local prophet takes a jump off the bridge.
It’s the spirit of Pat Foley and the ancient brigade
on the loose down the Quayside stairs
in a futile search,
just a step in the past,
for one last revolutionary song.
All the jars we have supped
in the hope of a change;
all the flirting and courting and chancing downstream;
all the words in the air and the luck pissed away.
It seems we oldies are running back
screaming to the Bewick days,
when a man could down a politicised quip
and craft a civilised chat
before he fed the birds
in the Churchyard.
The cultural ships are fair steaming in
but it’s all stripped of meaning -
the Councilors wade
in the shallow end.
O Blake! buy me a pint in the Bridge again,
let it shiver with sunlight
through all the stained windows,
make my wit sparkle
and my knees buckle.
Set me free of this stifling age
when the bland are back in charge.
Let us grow our golden hair wild once more
and roar like Tygers
down Dog Leap Stairs.
Born in Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne, where he has worked as a community
development worker, poet, librarian and publisher, Keith Armstrong, now residing in
the seaside town of Whitley Bay, is coordinator of the Northern Voices creative writing and community publishing project which specialises in recording the
experiences of people in the North East of England. Keith will be reading in Limerick at the White House Poetry Revival on the 12th July 2006