The Collected Writings Of

What I want to do is to fashion words into phrases that echo thoughts. To give voice to dumb minds and expression to experience, to squeeze a drop from life, a tincture of emotion

Here In A City

Here in a city of the kindly North, of grey skies and grime, of industry
Of weft and warp, of places and lumps
Of dyes with a ‘Y’ and dies with an ‘I’ and hundreds of miles from Jerusalem,
We yet turn our eyes to Israel and feel the sun that warms the valley of Jezroel
And burns the shepherd on the hills of Galilee.

Here in a city of margins and future, of muck and brass, of delivery dates
Of ales and stouts, of pies and chips, of City and United fans excited
We yet turn our eyes to Israel and savour the wine of Rishon-le-Zion
And the olives from the groves of Sharon.

And here in a City of commerce and trade, of merchant princes of the maritime
Of docks and locks, of cargoes and freight
Of wharfs and quays and the gate to the Seas,
We yet turn our eyes to Israel, to Solomon’ port,
Where Sheba came with gifts of gold, in the days of old to Aquaba.

For Israel’s ships from Israel’s ports now ply the sea’s,
Elat to Ghana and the Africas, Haifa to New York and the Americas
Forging anew the links that bind the House of Israel in the far flung lands
Where Judah’s tribe is scattered.

Here in a City and in every city and every town and every village
Each one its own Jerusalem
The congregation of Israel join hands.
And mighty hosannas answer the Shofar’s notes of freedom
Calling from Mount Zion, and jubilant, rejoicing in garlanded array
All greet the re-born statue on its tenth Birthday,

Here in this City, hundreds of miles from Jerusalem
Yet somehow, not so far away.

Here in this city, to-day.

Written on the tenth anniversary of the establishment of the state of Israel

Cliff And The Boy

We all have heroes to worship from afar
My son had one when he was just ten
His name was Cliff – Cliff Richard, the pop star
And when his idol came to town to give a concert at the Free Trade Hall
He plagued and pestered me for the where-with-all
To buy a ticket, so that he could see his hero in flesh and blood
Now I tended to be iconoclastic
And preferred the sound of Brighouse and Rastrick
But I couldn’t deny him this pleasure and joy
Remembering that I too – was once a boy.

A friend on the staff stood in loco parentis
In case all those fans went non-compis mentis.
After the concert I collected the boy who’d come under a spell
Cliff and the Shadows had done their work well.
The magic of music had entered his soul
A slave to the god of Rock and Roll.

Can’t be a star without a guitar, get one Spanish style
Learns the dots at college, waste of time and knowledge
A whole year, wants to play by ear
On a solid guitar, Oh alright then
Five pounds down and a pound a week
From Stock and Chapman – second hand
Just to be like Cliff and Hank and the boys in the band

Years roll on, illusions gone
The boys form a group and plays in dives and pubs
And working men’s clubs.
Night rides in clapped – out vans
Bringing music to the masses, playing second fiddle
To bingo and pork pies
Staple diet for Lancashire lad’s and lasses.

Why play someone else’s songs?
Try to write one’s own
Well this kid that’s what he did
But it’s hard to make it alone.
Enter an agent with the right connections
To plug it around in all directions
Writes a hit, into the chart it goes
Watch it climb up and up and up
It reaches the top as do many more
Then come the prizes, Gold and Silver discs galore
Was it Cliff who opened the Door?