When I come into the street
a woman crosses between parked cars
and hurries away like a straggler.
I stand in her eddy, feeling the air for a way in.
It is a short, stub-ended row of houses,
earth bank at the bottom, the sun on the pavement,
the earliness. There is nothing of sorrow here
except the dead end, its terraced shadow.
Now there is the click of a back door,
the chitter of a budgerigar.
Then you are hurrying from one of these houses,
hair brushed, tangled feet booted,
your undone laces tripping behind you.
The first poem in Rob Hindle’s sequence ‘Hillsborough to Middlewood, February 1931’. The sequence reimagines the short journey between Hindle’s great grandparents’ house and the South Yorkshire Asylum, where their son Harold died. The Asylum (later known as Middlewood Hospital) has been redeveloped as private housing.
A Longbarrow Blog essay by Brian Lewis, Dead Ends, maps the terrain of ‘Hillsborough to Middlewood, February 1931’.
‘Hillsborough to Middlewood, February 1931’ appears in the Longbarrow Press anthology The Footing. Listen to Rob Hindle reading this poem: