SOUL 

for Grant Tarbard 
  
Northern kids, their futures 
predictable, they grafted dourly 
five days a week down pits, in shops 
and on the factory floor – 
paying their way with some left 
for vinyl, speed and threads. 
  
Travelling miles by train each 
weekend with a change of clothes 
and a box of classic tracks 
– minor hits and rarities 
by blacks the charts ignored – 
they kept the faith 
  
and stormed the bouncers 
– who lost their cool and didn’t get it – 
once doors were opened 
to another drenched all-nighter 
at Wigan Casino, the Highland Room, 
the Golden Torch, the Wheel. 
  
A four-four beat was all 
they needed, rock steady, 
relentless, and simple lyrics 
that told the truth. Hallucogenics 
and hopeless solos 
warped the walls  of bedsits 
  
in never-never-land, 
but lads in bags and polo shirts, 
their girls in swirling skirts, 
danced all night till morning. 
Doing splits and fancy tricks, 
they span around like dervishes.  
 
David Cooke was born in the UK but his family comes from the West of Ireland. His poems, translations and reviews have appeared widely in the UK, Ireland and beyond He has published five collections of his poetry, the latest of which is After Hours published by Cultured Llama Publishing in 2017. David co-edits The High Window.