York in Poetry: Faded Dreams

Posted on 24 November 2012 | Poem

Once the seat of emperors and kings
A home to princes and earls
And more than enough politicians
To sink the fleet of little cogs
That plotted their way up the river
In the course of the Viking traders
From which they were derived
Laden with wool and wares
Guaranteed by adventurous merchants
Tailors and cordwainers
And the cathedra of a see of bishops
Enriched by piety and speculation:
This city of prominence and reputation
Thrived for a thousand years
‘Till the mills and furnaces
Of industrial transformation
Drew away the sparkle
Leaving an empty, occasionally glittering,
Dark dank river, a railway,
And chocolate.

Today, passed by somewhere to the right
Of the Great North Road
This old lady serves cakes and chintz
In her faded velvet gown,
Her jewels long gone,
To a steady stream of callers
And in the quiet of the crisp clear night,

- Alan Gillott
First published in “Beyond the Window”, published by Fighting Cock Press