Five poems in five days [2]

This and the next two days’ poems are shamelessly nostalgic. Big Dipper first appeared in The North 48 [2011], and later in my pamphlet Backtracks [2014]

Big dipper

[Every day, its a-gettin’ closer,                                                                                                                                              going faster than a rollercoaster]

I think that things were clearer then.
I doubt they were. There was that bench
that looked across the miles and miles
beyond the valley full of mills, all the way
to Saddleworth, Holme Moss.

I know that it was always winter
when I walked there with the girl
who was small and dark, and fit
beneath my arm as we sat there
in that cold and warmed our breaths
above the fields all chill and scratched
and grey with frost, the town below
all street-light misty.

And I suppose
the stars were brighter then,
the constellations bright as diagrams
and Betelgeuse as red
as the red they said it was.
Not that I noticed then, or cared. Now
I peer for stars, in winter in the North,
the Outer Isles; on late summer nights
in the Aegean; nothing seems so alive
as when I didn’t really take account.

When the Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Big Dipper got pulled down they found,
In the rubble, an earring,
Marlene Deitrich ‘d worn and lost.

I imagine that I see it – a pale star.
I think of fur. Of mingled breath.
Of that small dark girl
who fit beneath my arm.

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