Where I live, we enjoy an eclectic mix. It is an exciting blend of old and new, the ancient and ultra modern. Walking through these ruins is normal; a day to day thing, which can easily bring thoughts to mind.
The history of Newcastle upon Tyne dates back almost 2,000 years, during which it has been controlled by the Romans, the Angles and the Norsemen amongst others. Originally known by its Roman name Pons Aelius, the name “Newcastle” has been used since the Norman conquest of England.
Glossy mounds undulate with a twink
of moonlight; our bleary eyes are drawn,
like it was a belly dancer,
whilst we are drunk on curves made of thin grass.
Interwoven in these slim nibs –
dressing this long ago moat –
is the pungent whiff of Chinese supper
We pass through a maze of stepping stones
of old versus new build preservation –
thrilling as it is in historic glee –
it is incongruous.
Tall colleges stand,
proudly boastful of our burgeoning youth
and multi coloured accommodation, made of
clustered hives to radial cities, bungalow grids,
to streets in the sky.
‘I think it was a moat.
Now sullen, these sunken dips,
lend a sudden, glassy drop to a once watery bow.’
Fingers sink into refried chicken and potato wedges.
Sometimes, the erotic curves in those verdant hills
would creep out the bejesus in us;
those stealth foundations with concave battle scars
ramble through grass covered time –
just to please us.
‘Yes, it was a moat –
fit to protect sand and black scorched stone,
built to defend us –
slot eyed, fiery trebuchet eyes,
are now abandoned.
Pink Aubrieta grows from gaps in the stonework.
Its purple haze in springtime
replaces tough times and taught men,
but fails to conquer in the harsh daylight.
What happened here?
Why are you still here?
Surrounded by shopping precincts
grungy shops, sales and annoying students
posing – unaware of history –
unaware of the iron cast helmets
photo bombing happily
beside toothy, selfie smiles,
never to be seen,
but still willing to bear the weight
to ghost your mirror images
mingling with us as we wander the city,
inebriated at tawdry o’clock; black cloud skies
illuminate us well enough, we Siamese twins
in couplet courtships
with evening’s drunken revelry
and wayward pranksters hurling crap
through the city after 11 o’clock
when the pumpkin crashes
collapsing into stale, regurgitated beer swilling in alleyways
where vomit wreaks. And we are blissfully
unaware of the cobwebs that filter our
streetlights and in them, the spectres ogling
and smelling our high-street,
plastic, tubs of fried rice.
Parapets at the top of a wall,
that we regularly puke in
have regularly spaced squared openings
for shooting through;
we feel pain as mid morning approaches,
perhaps from the invisible arrows
of expert archers
rarely missing our eyes,
always piercing our hearts – these stalwart wretches are still
fending off the barbarians –
early intruders to these
olde battlements –
always watching the river Tyne to the seas,
cloistered in heavy garb
as they fire and fight all night long,
trying to hold onto their ground
and secure the city walls…
but only until we, the true offenders,
go home and go to bed.