Caught by the River


22nd September 2011

Dear Caught by the River,

I’m not sure if you are looking for contributions, but I’ve just written a new collection of poems based on my experiences growing up in a farming community in Yorkshire.

It’s called Dark Corners of the Land and will be coming out on Blackheath Books next year as a ltd edition chapbook. Blackheath are a Welsh artisan small press publisher, they print chapbooks and short story collections – have a peek at their website (the next edition will be the new Billy Childish book).

Daytripper by Adelle Stripe.

The bed of Cock Beck is grey;
oil, drip-dropped from the motorway planes,
into the drain holes, into the Beck.

My father stares into the water,
talks of the pike, the trout, the chub,
he caught and fed to us over the years.

When mayflies danced to their own reflection,
and willows stroked the water’s skin,
and muddy fish laid still as branches;
Cock Beck, once fed by the blood of the dead.

Upstream, past Bodies Bridge,
where men once fought as if they were battering
at the gates of paradise,
metal detectors bleep;
and Chantry Lane is a well-trodden path,
through ragwort pasture,
to St.Mary’s Chapel, Lead.

This land, that he once tilled,
with his own bare leathery hands,
is fallow.

Now there is only grey water,
no green moss on the pebbles and brooks,
just the roar of new engines,
Sunday drivers,
people in anoraks,
Ordnance maps.