The Dopers Lament

Doping in sport has been around for a long time. In cycling the first death attributable to doping was back in Arthur Linton back in 1896. He was trained by Chopper Warburton from Haslingden (just up the road from here) who trained three champion cyclists all of whom died before 40. The use of performance enhancing drugs wasn’t banned until 1965!

At a time we are looking at the cheating side of drugs in sport I find myself thinking of the harm it has done to some many over the years. It’s not just unfair it is genuinely tragic.

To be legends of dream, heroes
No way to win without the dope
They fuel the myth, recruit the young
The only way, the only hope

From strychnine to amphetamine
EPO, steroids, cortisone
Blood transfusions, needles and pills
HGH human growth hormone

The end of innocence came
Eighteen Ninety Six Linton died
Nineteen seventy’s new rules fell
Too late to turn this drug-fueled tide

As Tommy passed on Ventoux’ slopes
The pirate taken by cocaine
And fit young men died in their sleep
The knew the risks, we saw the pain

Fallen Heroes, battered beaten
Nowhere to go, nowhere to hide
Reputations gone, lives destroyed
The cost of greed the cost of pride

National Poetry Day 2012

Today is National Poetry Day and that serves as a good prompt to get back to my blogs which have been sadly neglected for quite a time. Although not blogging I’ve still been writing so for my first post back I’m posting a group of 5 recent poems.

I was one of seven poets commissioned to write poems inspired by Rochdale’s Connect2 network as part of the Connect2 project. You’ll be able to read more about the project on the Connect2Rochdale blog soon. So for my post tonight here are my five commissioned poems. They relate to the area around Milnrow, Kingsway Business Park through to Broad lane with a reference to Rochdale town centre in the last poem.

Water lily pads fringe dark deep water
The heron stands
By the tall bulrushes
Statue still
A knife blade splash
Languid ripples radiate
Slow wing-beats loft high
And the motorway rumbles
The long grass rustles
And the songbirds break through
High hedges hide the secret places
Between nature and men’s meddling
Quiet places beside
Ivy clad cottages
Leading to
Victorian terraces and
Batch-built estates
And a present-day traveller
Traces history’s footsteps
Weavers’ cottages and
Ellenroad’s tall smoking stack
Overlook the hidden entrance
As walkers, cyclists and horses
Pass under fast traffic
Frequent frustrated queues
Heading North, South, East and West
The motorway rumbles
The long grass rustles
And the songbirds break through
The Larks
Skylarks soar their vertical columns
Echoing chimneys long gone
Yellow machines move earth
Tall cranes lower preformed concrete
And industry is reborn
In a northern town
Seat of a co-operative revolution
And the motorway rumbles
The long grass rustles
And the songbirds always break through
Seven Guardians
White turbines churning, lazy
On dark Peninne hills
While seven sisters guard the valley
Where weavers in 1844
Pioneered equity
Now East and West bound
Traffic doesn’t see
The motorway rumbles
The long grass still rustles
And the songbirds break through