The shipyard painter, political activist and razor-sharp cartoonist Bob Starrett has just written a new book The Way I See It on his eventful life and times. Below we reprint one of his stories and review an essential read
The soil peels back, hands us our wages
with dirty hands. Cool beside us, twenty miles north,
where cotton towns smoke our treasure, women knit, plait, thread, lose a finger or three.
Men-turned-gasmasks step down
into the darkness. A black face
peers from the gas-heavy pit.
The two-fingered women dream in vain
of the diamonds we might stumble across.
We get on our hands and knees and crawl,
are careful what we spit for light;
the air is thick. No diamond is clean.
The night averts her eyes
and the rain dropped to the shingle,
sacrificed itself to the earth, and said not a single thing.
Charlotte Henson is a young poet from Greater Manchester currently living in London. She is widely published and her work has appeared in several publications including Cuckoo Quarterly, Blankpages and Sculpted. She is the sole editor of the new Astronaut Zine. Fossil is due to appear in the forthcoming anthology Sculpted: Poetry of the North West.