Staffordshire Drift

by Mal Dewhirst

Harriers drift on the breeze along castled crags
a double sun-set illuminates between the folded hills
Brass and copper were founded here
among the acoustic festivities of Spook Market Days
The air has the hint of malt and yeast,
hill over the field, on the fringe of the chase
womb stream, birthing channel
spilling full lap through meadowlands
the brambled woods
and heathered heath,
where the deer roam
and the Brambling and Yellowhammer call
the wolf
howls to the winds
that cross border plains
where dialects change to softer tones
Bower days and festivals,
the tombola’s, the writers, the Jazz
pistons fired and forged out of sweat
water lined with redbrick,
brewhouse, warehouse,
where hands made bricks,
made briars, weaved cotton,
made hats, dug coal, cast iron,
This our canvas, our clay, our ink,
where we live, breathe, create.

Extract from All around the Shire


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Mal DewhirstMal Dewhirst is a poet, scriptwriter and film maker who lives in Tamworth. He was the first Staffordshire Poet Laureate in 2012. His commissions have included developing the Polesworth Poets Trail, writing plays and poems for the towns of Tamworth, Lichfield, Stafford and Nuneaton. His work has been used in art galleries and exhibitions as he likes to collaborate with other artists. His plays have been performed around the UK and his films at International Film Festivals and his poems published in anthologies and magazines. He won the John Walmsley Award for his Refugee play Mausoleum in 2016. Mal works with communities to deliver unique projects in the arts, heritage, health and the environment exploring social issues through the interpretation of places.

Mal is Artistic Director of Fired Up Theatre, Project Director of MD Creative and a Director of the community development company Simply ABCD.