Creative Workshops Continue

It has been a busy few months of creative writing workshops as we continue to work with our partners, TWMAS around their exhibitions in relation to the region’s involvement in World War 1.

As these sessions are coming to an end, the final one due to run on 6 June at Sunderland Museum and Writer Gardens, we welcome participants to send in their creations to be featured on this website.

Here we share some poems from Harry Gallagher.
Ghost River 
Cobbling over Hadrian’s trod,
going back, back, back
to river’s edge. Gulls idly
chatter with herons on bones
of conveyors, cranes, staithes
lodged in silt, water topped up
with ancient stevedore blood.
Ships playing pretendy
that the old girl
is still thriving. Alive
with cries and roaring chains,
as virgin hulks slipaway
to Valparaiso or Cairo.
Off to countries never seen
by alchemists who hammered
shape into giants.


The Zeppelin’s Biggest Mistake

On 14th April 1915, a German Zeppelin ghosted in over Blyth and began dropping incendiaries over various locations, mostly landing in fields etc. It then made its way to Wallsend and dropped one on the house of a woman bathing her young daughter. Local defence volunteers opened fire on it with rifles, whereupon it retreated back over the North Sea…
Howay over the Tyne
with your bombs bonny lad,
bring that fat old balloon overhead.
This is the town that Hadrian built;
we pulled down his wall,
we’ll take you down an’ all.
Only I wouldn’t linger long if I were you,
because me and me mates
are primed with our rifles.
See, you went too far last night
when you dropped your filthy bombs
on Mrs Robinson’s house;
her little lassie in the bath,
oil bubbling through rafters.
The fire is out now,
you mightn’t like to hear.
Bairns safely out on the cobbles,
she walked back into the flames
and flannelled away
the very last traces of you.
See, this is what happens
when the devil hangs too long
in the clouds over God’s country.
Angels like her tell bastards like me,
casting upwards to Heaven
with Hell in me fingers.
So don’t stay away too long bonny lad,
steer that big black bumblebee
over here where we can see it.
We are men who magic up ships,
our fists pull coal out of earth
and I’ve shit bigger than you.
I’m gannin’ back to the missus
and me bairns now son,
and you go back to yours.
But don’t stay away
and don’t be a stranger;
we’ll keep the home fires burning
and we’ve got one here for you.
Sitting Ducks

Ambling into Gallipoli,
washed up on the waves.
Sitting ducks out of water,
stilting through salt.
We fresh water beauties,
spreading our colours
for snipers’ practice.
Building castles in sand,
baking for tomorrows
we will never see.

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