Pilgrimage

by Carole Bromley

The too bright polyanthus on your step,
the rusting wrought-iron gate,
a chip paper blown along the sand.
In the distance the steel works
idle, stark against the sky.
A boy collecting sea-coal,
a cricket match through the arch
of your old school, a lad
with red hair, running, running.
 
And then the pram-faced town,
the boarded-up shops
like blackened stumps of teeth
and the voices familiar, longed-for.
The almost forgotten accent I strain
to hear; a bill-board clattering.