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Throwback, Poems towards an Autobiography

Throwback, Poems towards an Autobiography

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Smoke from smouldering sea-coal,
bitter, harsh and salty as the air
veils the grey slate roofs,
the harbour lamps, the quays, the steps,
the figures on the dreaming bridge.

The waters of the early morning tide
wash the harbour with the tranquil light
that lies also on misted tiles
from which whole families
of chimneys rise, working ghosts of brick.

Mornings in Whitby

After a life of travel, Kirkup goes back to his beginnings on Tyneside, to early friendships and influences, to the warmth of his family - and beyond, to pay homage before the body of a two thousand year old Dane, "inhabitant of my ancestral land". Throwback is illustrated with photographs from Kirkup's family album.