I am lucky that John is on the staff at Manchester. I discovered his poetry this way. He has a lovely lyrical voice with sharp edges.
The wind sails leaves around the house like late notices
for the gardens deterioration. Turn a blind eye.
RTE longwave announces gigs in familiar venues,
I like the presenters comfortable thoughts of tonight
and the day after, until, that is, he introduces
The Holy Land by the Bothy Band then veers
into advertising a poetry broadsheet and a silver plate,
before attacking quote the crimson tides
and purple mountains end quote someone (who?)
might waste their money on instead in Woolworths.
Theres a snatch of a shipping forecast and
Im unloading the dishwasher when I hear a new voice,
which strands me by announcing, This is The Archive Hour.
And that was The Long Note 30 years ago today
out of earshot as I am of the autumn sun and rain
which the radio forecast, too, on this hour thats gone
south with its silver plate, its piano and bodhran,
where, in Woolworths, a crimson tide progresses
beneath a purple mountain and someone hums a reel:
he knows the start of it but puts a question mark
against the title: its The Holy Ground but he doesnt join the dots.
He has places to go. There will be time again for names and dates,
for taking it all down, for credits, for footnotes.