28th December 2020: a new Town

Cod Almighty | Article

by Alistair Wilkinson

31 December 2020

This week's events could define a new era for Grimsby Town. They stirred Al Wilkinson to pen a new poem. 

28th December 2020: a new Town

Christmas 2020 and a wind stirs around Blundell Park,
lifts at the edges of a frozen leaf; the fingertips of
a deathly handprint twitch, struggle to life, reach
for warmth but fall again as the fog of 18 years rolls back,
smothers the Findus, sucks again at the floodlights.

The wind comes again, blows at the fog. The roof of the Findus
juts into sunlight like the prow of a great steel ship.
Look down on Cleethorpes’ sands worn smooth, on expectations
worn to nothing, on black and white anger worn to grey.
The fog, a fraudulence, a damp fire, stops, waits for us.

And from nowhere, like a nosebleed, tears spring
into a stunned silence. Eyes hot.
All the years of benign benighted chains, of inertia, of feeling
nothing just so we could claim we had something.
Over now, the gaslighter put out, and we can move again.

Across the town, in a house near Lord Street,
in a back bedroom, an old warped wardrobe, riddled
with worm. Dust and sunlight pick out the 20th century design.
It’s been screwed to that wall for 18 years.
I shift it; paper pulls away, lined with old articles of success

and meaning, words and pictures impressed
over a forgotten wall. The print is exposed to the sunlight.
It will warm, be black and white and fade and never be grey,
and we’ll let it be, let it settle like ink into our fingertips,
while we look forward and move again.