Diane Granger

Growing up with slag heaps
gave him an uncommon sense of beauty.
He loved their bulk on the horizon
peaceful as hills

and in the evenings when
bronze skies stalled bed-time,
he knew liquid-hot metal
roared from furnaces,
breathing like dragons
settling against odds
into cool shapes

with never a warning
of the change in focus,
the years on night-shift
curtaining vision. Days
and seasons lost identity;
living made him dark
forsaking of childhood rhythms.

His children grew beyond him,
he disliked his wife
and bitterly he saw
when all was done
no stone would mourn
the great dead masses of the Works
when they were razed and landscaped;

only the alien trees
the rootless flower beds,
and a molten rage
that engineered him white hot
into a different mantling.

Cautious he steps abroad
finding what, unseen,
has always pressed the walls of town.
The air breathes softly, releasing
the recent dry heat of summer.
He gazes over purple sweeps of moor
where only sheep live.
In valleys, falling leaves
besiege villages
and wintering birds circle
half-clothed trees. Unseeing
he sniffs wood-smoke, rustles underfoot
crisp foliage, stops to test
bark of birch and oak.

In the last late streaks of darkening sun,
he climbs a ridge, his slow form
silhouetting against twilight.
An old vagrant breeze
slinks at his collar.
Details merge and darken.
Hilly shapes become familiar.

Diane Granger

Diane Granger was born and brought up in Hartlepool and, although she has lived much of her life in London and other places in England, is now living back 'home' in the north-east. Until recently she worked as a therapist in Reflexology and Reiki healing.

She started to write a few years ago, mainly poetry and short stories. So far she has had published one short story in the Bishop Auckland anthology, Practise to Deceive, and a poem in the football fanzine, Monkey Business.

Much of her writing has its roots in the characters and landscape of northern England. While this poem is officially 'about' autumn, it turned out to be 'really about' Hartlepool.

Another Poem of the Month from Diane: Berwick Train.

Poem of the Month full list

Follow the link for a list of other Poems of the Month.

Landscapes © 2009 Diane Granger: used with permission.
Copyright of this poem remains with the poet: please do not download or republish without permission.