Did you know that [counter] people have been having a skeg at my little autonomous region?

  

We Are Seacroft!

30/08/2013

The following piece of poetry is about the part of Leeds in which I grew up.

Séamus Heaney, who is said to have been the best Irish poet since William Butler Yeats, died today at the age of 74 and it was he who once said, “Write whatever you like.” So this is what I do. I write whatever I like and the things I write are written as I would say them.

I can’t imagine there are all that many people outside of Seacroft who would want to read about this place but I wrote these words anyway, because I wanted to put down on paper my feelings towards it and because I think Séamus would approve.

Thanks for the tip our Séamus.

 

We Are Seacroft!

 

With my folks, I lived on top

Of the North East Gas Board showrooms shop

In a row of flats called Parkway Mews

From which we had outstanding views

Of the back of Ladbrokes’, the Pathfinder pub

And the brand new East Leeds Labour Club.

 

Our house wasn’t in so much of a street

As a labyrinth built from cold concrete.

Not posh like how it should have been.

They’d even gone and got the Queen

To come up on a 16 bus

And unveil a shiny plaque for us.

 

Such a shame the shopping centre

Didn’t turn out how it was meant to.

Lovely shops and a brass band stand

Was what the men in suits had planned.

But the whole world turned its back and scoffed

As the heart was ripped from our Seacroft.

 

In the busy indoor market hall

There was nowt I liked except the stall

Where I could spend my weekly wage

On ex juke box records from a golden age

By Bowie, Bolan and by Slade

Within half an hour of getting paid.

 

And then the stall where they sold bread

Was another place I’d go to shed

A bit more of my hard earned cash

On a sausage roll and just a flash

Of a smile from the girl who used to thrill

My teenage heart as she rang her till.

 

Sometimes we’d go to the Derrisford caff

For a bottle of Coke and a bit of a laugh.

We’d waste so many afternoons

In the mother of all the greasy spoons.

Talking rubbish. Talking soft.

Of a romantic world beyond Seacroft.

 

The blokes would come home pissed and late

From the Cricketer’s Arms and the Monkswood Gate.

At least the ones who had a job

And could put aside a couple of bob

For Friday’s Tetley’s and their homeward stop

To buy their kids some chips and pop.

 

At the Universal Bingo Hall

Pat and Sheila had a ball.

‘It’s the weekend. Let’s go wild

With a packet of fags and a glass of mild.’

Win the jackpot? No such luck.

And they’d still have to scrub and clean and cook.

 

Nan and Grandad loved it there.

Lush green gardens. Fresh clean air.

Such hard times when they thought back

To their pokey terrace amongst the smokey stacks.

With home grown veg and a pigeon loft

Life was good in this new Seacroft.

 

A huge big Tesco fills the space

Where a caretaker would shout and chase

Us off for doing bugger all

Or sometimes kicking our football,

Or sometimes sitting on the steps

To the shoppers’ car park’s murky depths.

 

It may have seemed to other folks

Seacroft was fit for only jokes

Of drugged up youths and crumbling homes

And icy wastes where stray dogs roamed.

But the folks I knew, I’m proud to boast,

Were good as gold and warm as toast.

 

It broke my heart. You could hear my sighs

From South Parkway to Kentmere Rise.

The Centre’s shops and flats were gone

But its soul and spirit linger on.

We should stand and sing with our arms aloft

‘We’re not just Leeds. We are Seacroft!’

 

Terry Mullan, March 2013

 

 

Sometimes we’d go to the Derrisford caff for a bottle of Coke and a bit of a laugh.
Sometimes we’d go to the Derrisford caff

for a bottle of Coke and a bit of a laugh.

 

A big special Seacroft thank you to ManxPhil for the use of this photograph. I'll buy you a bottle of Coke one day Phil.

Number of comments: 5

31/08/2013 09:00:20 - Ian Perry, E-mail address is hidden

Pure magic and so true
Many thanks

31/08/2013 12:49:12 - Derek ibbotson, E-mail address is hidden

Well terry that sums up seacroft to a tee and it cheered me up too thanks

08/09/2013 15:00:24 - Pauline Dodson, E-mail address is hidden

Oh wizard with words - that's the Seacroft I remember - hope we're the gold and warm as toast folks that you remember!

26/01/2014 11:56:13 - Paul, E-mail address is hidden, paulridgeblog.com

Beautiful words, Terench.
I love how uplifting your poetry is, yet still completely evocative ..

26/01/2014 14:50:24 - Carole was Gibson

Love it - you've caught the spirit of the place
Not wrapped it up in flowers and lace !
You've brought back memories that is true !
Can't believe I never bumped in to you!
The places you say you spent your time,
Are exactly the same as I spent mine !!!
The only thing that can explain this......
........ I must be a younger miss !!! Lol
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