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.