She came a mite early by the calendar,

fuelling gossip and glee in spiteful eyes,

an autumn surprise for court fourteen

in rack-rent Brightside’s cuts and ginnels.


The landlord thrived on stolen lives.

But the horses she saw pulled carts of flowers,

and early morning milk hot from the cow.

The neighbours jeered behind her back,


a child born the wrong side of the sheets

like a music hall chorus-line high-kicking

into a blind future. So she lied to change

the picture. Told stories of better dreams.


Even the landlord might have preferred

her dreams to his own: early morning moors

and tors windswept by a cloud of skylarks.


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