12 November 2012

Tuesday Poem: 'Delph, Whit Friday' by Harvey Molloy

Delph, Whit Friday

A clear sky hails arcs
of dry split peas and rice
from the silver shooters we blow
like flutes from candied lips.

It’s just gone three
and our kid’s kaylied already
from the Party Four
and how could it be that she
let my lips brush her cheek in the graveyard
just after she asked ‘Which church are you’?
As if I even knew.

This Friday the whole village is dressed in their finest
and nobody works. Look!
The red faced trombonist has lost his rag
and rushes towards a lippy scrag of a lad
who gives him the fingers and a face full of grain
and who just happens to be me.

Harvey Molloy

Harvey says of this poem:

I spent four of the happiest years of my childhood living in Markwood, Delph, Saddleworth, Oldham. I had no desire to move to New Zealand – though we had moved from Delph to the less than idyllic Sholver housing estate for the last year before boarding the boat at Southhampton. If you’ve seen the fine movie Brassed Off or the TV show The Last of the Summer Wine then you get an idea of where I used to live. I remember that we’d stock up on lentils and dried peas so we could pelt the brass bands with our peashooters. There was lots of drinking, laughing, merriment – it was Breughel on the Pennines. ‘Party Four’ was a four pint single can of beer sold by Tetley’s. They even had a Party Seven. This poem first appeared in Lancashire Life

A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate enough to do a reading at with Harvey and Saradha Koirala at Meow. This was one of the poems Harvey read that struck me the most. I don't know why, but I find I'm very drawn to Harvey's poems about where he's from - the north of England. Actually, I'm exaggerating – I think I'm basing that on only two poems, this one and 'Closer', which is really worth a read too: http://harveymolloy.blogspot.co.nz/2011/06/tuesday-poem-closer.html. For the full effect though you need to hear Harvey read it, in that northern accent.

Harvey Molloy is a poet and teacher. His first collection of poems, Moonshot, was published by Steele Roberts in 2009. He blogs at http://harveymolloy.blogspot.co.nz/.

Check out some of the other Tuesday Poems at the hub blog: http://tuesdaypoem.blogspot.co.nz/.