Thursday 4 October 2012

Charles Tomlinson's "The Allotment"

The Richmond St. allotments are in Penkhull, and I've found out that a poet who was born and raised in Penkhull, Charles Tomlinson (b. 1927), wrote a 1972 poem titled "The Allotment". With the descriptions of the valley below the site, he could almost be writing about the Richmond St. allotments. Here's an early part of the poem...

   of clinker heaps
        go orange now:
through cooler air
   an acrid drift
        seeps upwards
from the valley;
   the spoiled and staled
        distances invade
these closed comities
   of vegetable shade,
        glass-houses, rows
and trellises of redly
   flowering beans.
is a paradise
   where you may smell
        the cinders
of quotidian hell beneath you;
   here grow
        their green reprieves
for those
   who labour, linger in
        their watch-chained waistcoats
rolled-back sleeves—
   the ineradicable
        peasant in the dispossessed
and half-tamed Englishman.
   By day, he makes
        a burrow of necessity
from which
   at evening, he emerges

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