22 March 2014


("The Duckmanton Hotel")

Only echoes now.
They hang about this monument to coal
Like a cigarette fug
Imbuing curtains and threadbare carpets
Staining the ceilings
But close your eyes
To listen and
You may still hear them
Ghosts from long ago
Birthday parties, wedding parties
Raucous laughter
Drunken squabbles
The clicking of dominoes
And thudding of darts
Thirsts to slake
Glasses to break
All human life passed here
Another day, another beer
The song of the miners clear and true
"Oh there were times I'm sure you knew..."
At the heart of this community
A piece of red tinsel
Catches the light
And in the lavatory
A yellow sticker still reads
"Coal not Dole" 
Oh close your eyes
To listen and
You may still hear them
Ghosts from long ago
Police horse hooves thundering
Wives and mothers wondering
If the fight would ever end.


  1. Nice poem ~ will you put it into context tomorrow and tells us where this is and why you wrote the poem?

    1. Carol, it is about dole not coal.
      We still use coal in the UK. Thatcher was an evil witch. She used the the nasty MET Police to drive horses at children and women. To break the will of honest men. Ever met an honest policeperson or politician? Almost a contradiction in terms. Not quite an oxymoron but damn near an oxymorron.

    2. Okay Carol - I'll try. Watch this space.

    3. All good YP ~ I think you and Adrian have framed it nicely with your comments. It is still operating. It isn't controlled by the breweries. It is in Derbyshire. I understood the background about the coal mines and Thatcher and strikes ~ and how it tore communities and families apart.

  2. Neill, this is brilliant.
    I can't write proper like you do.
    With your permission I would love to save it.
    You brought tears to my throat.

    1. PS. Nothing is ever a free house.

    2. Thank you for your positive response. I can tell that you really grasped what I was trying to say with this poem. And you're right, there's really no such thing as a freehouse.

  3. Tom Lane, Duckmanton, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, S44 5HF

    If they have not torn it down, why don't they renovate and use it? What is the meaning of Freehouse? Was it used as a pub as well as hotel?

    1. Mama Thyme. This huge pub/hotel still operates - teetering along but as the poem suggests it has seen much better days. When do doubt they tear it down they will be tearing out the every heart of this former coal mining village. A "freehouse" is a pub that isn't controlled by a brewery.

  4. I am not a poem chap YP


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