Poetic licence: My own North-South divide

Tony Blair insisted this week that he leads a `One Nation' Government and that the divide in the country is between rich and poor rather than North and South

I have worked and wandered

in this land they call the North

Wolfed breakfast on grey Sundays

in a dark pub back of Bury.

Sat on trams on Saturdays and

snaked through black brick cities.

Stood on cliffs in Cleveland and

seen Upleatham under snow

Cycled on to Saddleworth moor

And drunk a pint in Dukinfield

Milled in Morrisons and mingled

with the crowds at Ashton Market

Sang at t'Builders in Huddersfield

and crashed in a council house

in Mixenden, surrounded by the

hoary hardworked hills of Halifax

Sat in Harry Ramsden's eating

perfect chips, after perfect pints

- no less than a two-inch head.

I've had me tea in Betty's

Walked the coal-seam beach at

Saltburn, gone to Guisborough

by bus, seen Roseberry Topping

Walked by graffiti wheelie-bins

In numerous grimy back streets

named after old Crimean battles

Seen the Tees from Southbank

and Middlesbrough burning

in the sulphur-amber night.

Wandered into lunch-time market

pubs where dark-eyed beehive

barmaids called me Luv.

Watched sodden Cumbrian collies

working, sat on trains in pouring rain

from Leeds to Northallerton

And having heard the red hat

and no knickers of it all...

A different land, is what I thought.

Being southern and no better

than I ought.

Martin Newell's latest collection, `New', is available at the reduced price of pounds 6 inc p&p. Send cheque payable to Newell to JLMP 2 Featherbed Lane, Selling, Kent ME13 9QU