Thursday, October 04, 2012

Ian McMillan and National Poetry Day

Ian McMillan the Bard of Barnsley was on Breakfast News today.  TV regular, radio presenter, playwright, poet - his series of stories Richard Matthewman - co-written with the late Martin Wiley - are among the funniest things I've ever heard, and very poignant.  For I grew up in the same area, at the same time.

In fact the thing none of the sources tell you about IM is quite possibly the least important: I was at school with him.  Wath Grammar.  Comprehensive, now.  (It was then, but nobody admitted it.)

Anyway, this morning IM said poetry was important and we should have a go.  Here's my go.

Ian McMillan, they say, is a poet, 
From Barnsley they tell us he came.
Not so though, I know, and I'll tell you,
'Cos Darfield launched him to fame.

Now Darfield's a suburb of Barnsley,
But 'suburb's' too posh of a word,
We don't have suburbs in Yorkshire,
Just towns at the end of the road.

Our hero was grammared in Wath,
Queen of the villages, said Vic- 
Though she'd seen such a pick -
When they'd given it, wi' paint, quite a lick.

There 'George' Brown and BobGod they taught him,
English and history - and such
As would stand in good stead
When his poetry he read
And me - at the top of the class.

(I wish!)

It's hard to be a poet in Yorkshire,
Larkin and Ted Hughes say the same.
They don't care about rhyme
When they come out o't' mine
Just a pie, and a pint, is the game.

So he still lives in Darfield, but travels
To Barnsley, to Hull and beyond.
Down South if he has to - 
It's not rare that he has to - 
But his voice never changes
For Yorkshire he allus remains.

I'll stick to the preaching...

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