Tony Harrison Poems
- Long Distance Ii Though my mother was already two years ...
- National Trust Bottomless pits. There's on in Castleton, ...
- Heredity How you became a poet's a mystery! Wherever did you...
- Marked With D. When the chilled dough of his flesh went in an...
- Long Distance I Your bed's got two wrong sides. You life's ...
- Turns I thought it made me look more 'working class' (as if ...
Harrison was born in Leeds and educated at Leeds Grammar School and the University of Leeds, where he read Classics and took a diploma in Linguistics. For some years he has lived in Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne.
The material of much of his poetry is provided by the memories of his working-class childhood. His poems and translations show a powerful command of rhyme and an expert adaptation of colloquial speech. His best known collections are The Loiners (1970) and The School of Eloquence.
Cited from Professor Rick Rylance's analysis, focusing on "Book Ends" and "V", as well as the themes of political and personal division. "Tony Harrison is ... more »
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Long Distance Ii
Though my mother was already two years dead
Dad kept her slippers warming by the gas,
put hot water bottles her side of the bed
and still went to renew her transport pass.
You couldn't just drop in. You had to phone.
He'd put you off an hour to give him time
to clear away her things and look alone
as though his still raw love were such a crime.
He couldn't risk my blight of disbelief
though sure that very soon he'd hear her key
scrape in the rusted lock and end his grief.
He knew she'd just popped out to get the tea.
I believe life ends with ...