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For Ellie, on her 24th Birthday

Southport

Screen_shot_2017-12-05_at_08.50.24by Patrick Howse07 Sep 2016

The sea
Always seemed
A long way off.

It clings
To Lancashire
Like genteel poverty,

Terrified
By the ugly gaping
Maw of Liverpool:

Fleetwood was fish,
Blackpool vulgar,
Morecambe depressed;

But Southport
Was not Merseyside,
It was respectable.

I return
Always to one visit,
My son on my back,

My daughter
Holding my hand
Only when compelled to,

Crashing hard
Into a blue-rinse
Who looked down,

Then up
Into my soul
To foretell:

That one
Will one day
Break your heart.