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Poem: LOWESTOFT – as read live on the Jeremy Vine Radio 2 show Wednesday 25th April 2012


Lowestoft - Then




Gone its history of herring girls and gulls
and stubbled stubborn weather-hardened men
snatching from the unforgiving sea
its sheening shimmering silver lode
sometimes paying nature’s tithe of death
the market price of fish the sea demands

Deckie learners clad in suits of every hue
pink and lime and post-box red
yellow tartans peacock blue
would swagger proud the wind-chilled streets
drinking brawling back to the calling sea
don’t mess with us – for this is what we do.

Fifty-thousand cran each year once streamed
in floodlit silver falls of light
boxed and iced throughout the night
defying nature’s rotting hands of time
by road and rail the salty spoils dispersed
racing each to reach the fickle market first

Lowestoft also sold the friendly sea
sometime sunshine buckets spades and ice cream cones
Wakes weeks wanderers like northern swallows called
every year every week every digs the same
mum and dad and skirt-clasped knickered Grannies came
for beer, bingo, rolled up trousered men, and a pick-up football game

These steady strong withstanding Suffolk folk
No trace of sentimentality or voiced complaint
Seek new ways to share the simple beauty of their place
And from a proud hard-working honest yesterday
Carve a future from market forces granite face
For when The Darkness melts away.

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