(home thoughts from abroad)
we are more than sharply contrasting photographs
of massive ships and staithes for coal, more than
crackling films where grimy faced workers are
dwarfed by shadows or omitted by chimneys, more
than foul mouthed men in smoky clubs or well-built
women in a wash-day chorus. we are more than
lessons in post-industrial sociology, more than
just case-studies of dysfunctional community.
we are more than non-speaking extras in
fashionable new gangster movies, more than
sad lyrics in exiles’ songs. we are more than
the backbone of inglorious empire, or the
stubborn old heart of a dying beast. we are
more than the ghosts of a million histories,
more than legends inscribed in blood, more
than exhibits in some vast museum, or the
unbought remnants of a year-long sale,
we are more than this, but not much more.
Summers is an English poet who was born in Blyth, Northumberland and currently residing in Emu Park. Summers was a founding co-editor of both the Billy Liar and the Liar Republic magazines. This poem is from his new and selected poems “union,” published by Smokestack Books.