Two poems by Tom Moody

Playing with Fire

In childhood, summer fires

would sweep the mineral line,

bringing the local brigade

bell-clanging down our road.

Whooping in their wake

a comet tail of kids.


In those days of steam

a stoker’s fag-end ash,

a stray glead, could easily

kindle the straw-dry grass.

With snapped Elder branch,

or a borrowed shovel,


we, little flea-pit heroes,

would stand with shirt-sleeved

firemen, slowly advance,

beat out the dancing flames.

Smut-stained we’d return

covered in soot and glory.


It was only as an adult

I learned the true facts.

Firemen always attributed

an unknown cause to,

“a young child playing

with a match”.

Clayton and Davies Breakers Yard
Clayton and Davies Breakers Yard, Dunston

We Never Had It So Good.

Our long row; a frontier of sorts.

Acres of allotments at the back,

its front faced industries sliding

to dereliction, some already dead.


The breakers yard feasted

on an obsolete merchant fleet,

gobbled the remains of steam,

then starved as the steel ran out.


We scuttled in darkness, frost or rain

to a toilet with a bell-clank flush.

Lead pipes with winter-burst repairs

swollen like arthritic knuckles.


Cobbles, front and back, ragman’s

cart rumbling on black whinstone.

Spring tides would rise up drains,

flood the lane with dilute sewage.


Kids played, plodged, dodged turds,

condoms, smudged squares of old news.

Too poor, too ignorant to have allergies,

just immunity; enough to stop a horse.


Tom Moody lives in Tynedale. He is a former nurse and has an MA in creative writing from Newcastle University. Published work includes: articles, short stories and a prize-winning script for local radio. His poetry has appeared in Orbis, Prole, Algebra of Owls, Ink Sweat and Tears, Riggwelter and Three Drops from the Cauldron . When not writing, he plays saxophone, walks his dog and cooks curries (not all at the same time).


2 thoughts on “Two poems by Tom Moody

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s