Hillsborough Remembered - Poem by John Holmes
Hillsborough – 15th April 1989
An FA Cup semi, Sheffield bound,
Liverpool & Forest, Hillsborough ground.
We sang on the coach, excitement was high,
The Redmen would win, no word of a lie.
Standing outside, we were herded like sheep,
Queues were enormous, scores & scores deep.
I was already nervous, a boy in a crowd,
Police horses massive, atmosphere loud.
In through the turnstiles & there was the tunnel,
Darkness & cramped, we all had to funnel.
Out into sunshine, everybody a friend,
No seating, just standing, the Leppings lane end.
Blue fencing enclosed us, normal back then,
Another stand behind, we were now in the pen.
Unpainted concrete, steps down below,
I stood near the railings, luckily so.
As more people entered, we had to bunch up,
That didn’t matter, we were winning the Cup.
But still they kept coming, this can’t be right,
I can’t move any further, chest feels tight.
Game had kicked off, must have been about 3,
I was too small, I just couldn’t see,
And still they kept coming; I’m starting to shout,
Constrained & restricted, I want to get out.
There’s nowhere to go, what the hell can I do,
People are crying, men & kids too.
“I’m going to die”, it runs through your head,
Panic sets in, plus feelings of dread.
An arm reaches down, tries to pull me from danger,
I look at the eyes of a wonderful stranger,
He tries once again, pulling so strong,
Then free, moving upwards, out of the throng.
Stood atop fencing, hop onto the grass,
Staring behind, this incredible mass.
Faces contorted, screaming & pain,
This isn’t happening, this is insane.
Blue metal cuts deep, into body & face,
People are begging, but there’s no escape.
I wish I could help, there’s nothing to do,
Stands are in chaos, scared through & through.
Boardings are used to carry the dying,
Hands are on wood, face is just crying.
We lay down the bodies, in a school style gym,
This was the morgue, so dark & grim.
Put my coat on a fan; don’t know if he lived,
I quite often wonder, sure hope he did.
Or maybe he died, took his last breath,
And I was the one to witness his death.
The next I recall, I was sat on the pitch,
Down by halfway, mind was in bits,
Replaying it all, replaying the fears,
Sobbing, just sobbing, uncontrollable tears.
Outside again, we queued for the phone,
Gotta let Mum know, gotta ring home.
It was eerily quiet; the noise had all gone,
Everyone thinking, united as one.
The coach journey home, nobody spoke,
We’re all in a daze, emotionally broke,
I haven’t ‘til now, told of this day,
Just bottled it up & put it away.
I will always remember, I will never forget,
The faces in pain, the dead that I met.
They’re still in our family, Liverpool home,
With justice so near, Never walking alone..
Just a football match, a long time ago,
Justice for the ’96.
Poet's Notes about The Poem
I was finding it difficult around the anniversary this year & it was suggested i should write something down.
I am now 40 years old & haven't written any kind of poetry since school; this was also pretty much the first time i had talked about the disaster.
I am glad i wrote this, it has certainly helped; maybe i had bottled things up for too long..
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