The New Statesman Poem of the Month

Keighley by George Szirtes. Poetry Editor: Adam Newey

At night you can see the north wind as you lie sleepless, because the net curtains bulge with it, and the whole room seems to sigh

and billow as if the moors were about to divulge a dreadful secret: black earth, scrub, thin grass. The weather here is willing to indulge

its resident Heathcliffs from the deep bass of fogged valleys or screaming tips of rock. On a bend down Keighley way you might pass

a cannibalised Morris Minor in a state of shock, its big end gone, its eyesockets picked bare by scavengers, dewdrops dangling from the lock

of its open door. There is something in the air stripping the paint away, nature perhaps nothing more, the power concentrated there

escaping through the bleak beauty that claps its arms around things, around trees and cars and old men dropping ash in their own laps

in front of the TV and the latest soap stars, with the dog by the door wanting to go out into the wind across the becks and scars.

From An English Apocalypse (Bloodaxe Books, £8.95)

This article first appeared in the 05 November 2001 issue of the New Statesman, The rise and rise of President Blair