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A FINE MADNESS

by
 Any poets about or bored muses fancying a day out?

Rainy, windy, cold Leeds City Station

Half-way through its slow chaotic transformation

Contractors’ morning break, overalls, hard hats and harness

Flood McDonalds where I sip my tea and try to translate Val?ry.
London has everything except my bardic inspiration I’ve only to step off the coach in Leeds and it whistles Its bravuras down every wind, rattles the cobbles in Kirkgate Market Hovers in the drunken brogue of a Dubliner in the chippie As we share our love of Joyce the Aire becomes the Liffey.
All my three muses have abandoned me.
Daisy in Asia, Brenda protesting outside the Royal Free, Barbara seeing clients at the C.
A.
B.
Past Saltaire’s Mill, the world’s eighth wonder, The new electric train whisperglides on wet rails Past Shipley’s fairy glen and other tourist trails Past Kirkstall’s abandoned abbey and redundant forge To Grandma Wild’s in Keighley where I sit and gorge.
I’ve travelled on the Haworth bus so often The driver chats as if I were a local But when the rainbow’s lightning flash Illumines all the valleys there’s a hush And every pensioner's rheumy eye is rooted On the gleaming horizon as its mooted The Bronte’s spirits make the thunder crack Three cloaked figures converging round the Oakworth track.
Haworth in a storm is a storm indeed The lashing and the crashing makes the gravestones bleed The mashing and the bashing makes the light recede And on the moor top I lose my way and find it Half a dozen times slipping in the mud and heather Heather than can stand the thrust of any weather.
Just as suddenly as it had come the storm abated Extremes demand those verbs so antiquated Archaic and abhorred and second-rated Yet still they stand like moorland rocks in mist And wait as I do till the storm has passed Buy postcards at the parsonage museum shop Sit half an hour in the tea room drying off And pen a word or two to my three muses Who after all presented their excuses But nonetheless the three all have their uses.

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