Stubbing Wharfe

Stubbing Wharfe

“We sat in the
gummy dark bar”
—Ted Hughes,
“Stubbing Wharfe,”
Birthday Letters

How did I end up here—
In this winter night rain?

Sodden dreary Yorkshire—
Closing in on me?

The black humped bridge—
Its cobble sweating black

Sitting here in this bar—
Moorland trapping us here?

This hopeless old stone trap—
That Ted escaped from

The hillsides straight up—
The high woods looking down

Tangle wintry wetness—
Under lamps of drizzling yellow

Talk about film noir—
Chandler should see this

The moody moorland—
No wonder Ted’s so morose

He was born here that’s why—
He’s lost in thought now

The whole valley depressing—
Cold, empty, exhausted

Gloomy memorial to death—
A fallen-in grave of history

A gore of ruined mills—
And abandoned old churches

So much for the great—
British Industrial Revolution

Done-in like Detroit—
Sunk deep like the Titanic

Gruesome, dead-end dive—
I’m homesick for New England

The bright Atlantic beaches—
The sunshine always there

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