Tag Archives: social history

The Photograph

empty of people,
there is just light
on a rain moistened street,
the matinee performance
sans audience
sans plaudits;
The years before The Hindenburg,
their melange of sweet perfumed absinthe
memories subverted by acrid pyre gauloises
the looking-glass stained by unrehearsed
intimacies and unrestricted desires;
the scene transfigured
by the deja-vu lens;
the accordion player,
the newspaper vendor,
the grande dame ex-voiture,
the gendarme scratching his head,
the louche and the bohemian
confreres in delight
of the forbidden things,
fruits and spices and incense..
and there is just light
on a rain moistened street,
the matinee performance,
about to begin,


As he waits,

the grey-haired man

smiles at his grandson

practising marching in step,

clouds prevent the sun

from gleaming on silver trumpets,

drums stay mute,

banners remain furled,

shoulders shrug

and the grey-haired man


to get the bus home.

(written around 1998,previously unpublished;Louis Kasatkin has asserted his Right to be recognised as the author of this work)


ever so slowly,

the blade descending

stainless steady serrated

severing flesh arteries bone

deeper deeper yet

burying the pain

jangling screaming

crimson showers

ebbing flowing;

Minaretted shadows echo

vowel-less syllables’

call to prayer,

in their thousands hurrying

prostrating before a history

that belongs

somewhere else

in some far


(Louis Kasatkin has asserted his Right under the Copyright,Designs&Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work)

An Ordinary Life:The Queen Mother

Not by majesty imposed
nor by birth decreed
but by love made discreet;
the helping hand
the gentle demeanour
and part of those led,
rich beyond measure
yet sharing the ordinary everyday
of those who sought and found
to some degree
an unassuming kindness,
an empathy without affectation
not to be found in trumpeted fanfares
nor in garlanded parades
but in a heart
graced by a shared virtue
and sustaining belief,
therein the sufficiency
of a purpose fulfilled
of a life well led
that touched and was part of the ordinary.

(Louis Kasatkin has asserted his Right under the Copyright,Designs&Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work)

Marston Moor :1644

Stand fast soldier,in the day’s
fading light amid this expanse
which you’ll reconsecrate
with musket and pike;
Stand fast with arks of the covenant,
ready to strike at pampered steeds
and their wanton princes mocking
you for a last time;
Stand fast,draw breath and recite
a plain psalm to set the world alight,
piled high with squandered treasuries
and their ruined fortresses of pride;
Stand fast soldier,expound your creed
for those who gaze upon a
desolate heritage and fail to recall
that the scattering ashes
were once a yoke.

In one of the decisive military encounters of the English Revolutionary War ,Thomas Fairfax’s Parliamentary forces inflicted a significant defeat on the Royalist forces under Prince Rupert on the outskirts of York.

The End of Empire ( rebooted as “End of Empire” 21/02/20)

Magnolia-scented archipelago morning,
camouflaged gun-carriages
slinking along
taut cobblestoned arteries
to the grande Palace de Ville;
half-awake kepi’d corporals
tune battered transistor radios
catching the tresses of
fleeting Francoise Hardy chansons,
their spiritual melange of
love,hope and understanding
struck down by the
bayonet sharp rays of the sun
glinting on pristine marble statues,
quiescent cherubs of moments
dawning and dying,
holding thoughts in thrall
evoking a lassitude that will never
see its own likeness again
in all the mirrors
that blank and fade,
as the first of the artillery
heralds the crucifixion
of Coup d’etat.

(Louis Kasatkin has asserted his Right under the Copyright,Designs&Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work)

Industrial Landscape ( Rebooted 3 October 2018 )

Charred chimney blackened

horizons wreathed in

cotton from the mill,

coal from the pit,

spinning wheel spun

ocean depth burrowed;

dark and darkening,

surrounded railway terminals

clanking clamouring,

crashing their weights

freights of billets and cables,

smithied and forged from

molten steel heaving hissing

endless streams whiter than

the eyes of those snap-tinned men;

fire-breathers off the graveyard shift

criss-crossing paths with their

cock-crowed young mates,

on crammed jammed rattling trams

rolling home to neat-boxed quadrangled

estates where daytime lungs ache

for more of that air and

early evening eyes strain for

more of that light

doused too soon by

charred chimney blackened horizons.



Remembrance :( Northern Union Final Pre-War )

Beneath faded picture card skies,
uneven lines huddle outside
(Belle Vue,Fartown,Headingley)
elysian fields where empty
terraces beckon down-at-heel
conquistadors searching their
deepest pockets for a hidden
El-Dorado of Ha’pennies,Tanners
and thrup’ny bits;
Worn out archaic faces peer at
children playing on the corner
where a temperance band greets
the trams disembarking volunteers
for the autumnal Mardi-Gras,
a feast of mesmerising havoc,
where legendary warriors
are again released from sepia-tinted
summers’siren thrall to engage in
rites of combat that’ll be retold
in troubadour ballads of the golden age;
A golden age whose lanterns grow
dim and exhortations expire and
charabancs hoofbeats recede as other
hoofbeats herald a darker destiny under
foreign skies for figures the colour
of a Lowry drawing hearthward bound,
past fast fading Charlie Chaplin at
the Picture House,Karno at the Royal,
through silent grainy tableaux where
steam whistles shrill and pit wheels
spin,above Balaclava,Inkerman,Mafeking,
uneven huddled streets down which
sepia-tinted warriors shall never come
marching,never come marching home,again.

(“Remembrance”a.k.a.”Northern Union Final Pre-War”was first published in the official matchday programme of Wakefield Trinity v.Halifax,19/3/2000 and the poem was performed on 5/7/2000 at the anniversary Monkey Bar now the Cow Shed on Northgate,Wakefield gig.)


The last gate has been locked,
the last groundsman has gone,
Stands empty now,
soon not a brick or heap will remain;
(boots in the locker,jerseys on the floor)
Clarence Street and Fartown no more.

Clouds pass and the deserted
neighbourhood’s murmur fades
leaving the open field to its destiny
Void and awake,silently talking
to the silent travelling moon;
“The day has passed,they have gone”

Names that were once our fortress,
thirteen giants on the horizon
to which our dreams aspired;
(boots in the locker,jerseys on the floor)
Crown Flatt and Parkside no more.

Lonely and still the phantom
Stands glisten,the goalposts
symbols of our aspirations,
etch their gaunt shadows across the
turf,whereon the last try was scored,
(boots in the locker,jerseys on the floor)
hopes and dreams,no more.

(this poem was first published in Total rugby league magazine on 14/6/2000 and appeared in the official matchday programme for Wakefield Trinity v.Bradford Bulls on 23/7/2000.)
*Clarence Street was the historic home ground of York RLFC;Fartown was the home of Huddersfield RLFC-the team Tommy Smales played for-;Crown Flatt was home to Dewsbury RLFC and Parkside belonged to Hunslet RLFC.*And all before the noble Northern game of Rugby League sold its soul to NewsCorp and the Summer superleague.


“In the beginning is the kick-off,

the ball flies spiralling high and

true into the sacrosanct home

In-Goal area where it’s snagged,

neatly hugged by the swivel-hipped

Full-back who evades the predatory

first would-be tacklers,

and starts his run up the field;

A-drenalin thumping,

P-ulse racing..vein bursting,

N-erve shattering..muscle tearing,

S-inew shredding..heel hammering,

L-ung aching..turf churning..mud

spattering..trail blazing..barricade busting,

St-adium shuddering..Har-vesting hosannahs

Garnering adu-lation..


(Louis Kasatkin has asserted his Right under the Copyright,
Designs&Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work)