A LATE HARVEST
Poems by John Ward
John Ward was born at Gosforth, Newcastle-upon-Tyne on 16 December 1915 and lived there until 1933 before moving to the Manchester area. He is proud of having worked for 43 years as a civil servant in the Social Security field, retiring with an Imperial Service Order and the rank of Senior Principal. He has had more than 70 short stories published over many years, including one in Penguin New Writing, but began to write poetry only in 1967. A Late Harvest is his first published book. Some poems within this collection have appeared in Country Life, Outposts, Phoenix, Poetry Review and PN Review; others have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
’My father’s family lived in North Yorkshire for hundreds of years, my mother’s as long on Tyneside. Our Society has forgotten its roots, however, and it took me until I was forty years of age, including 10 years in the south-west, to realise that I was a North-countryman and always would be. It took me longer still to become curious about my past, about those men and women, my ancestors, whose life and death and suffering had gone into making me who and what I was. Many of the poems in A Late Harvest are concerned with that search and what it uncovered or with the Northcountry which has nourished me. I hope that they may encourage others to celebrate their own inheritance.’ – John Ward
It’s all there in browns and ochres,
the bare boozer, the sawdust and the spit:
bargees conjuring a rainbow world in drink.
A noisy crowd, nose-picking, toothless,
hair sprouting from their ears like weeds,
tells dirty jokes about the landlord’s wife
or sinks in a pool of vomit on the floor.
A man, caught short, pees through an open window.
Indifferent crones, there for the beer,
submit slack breasts to fumbling hands.
And, in the foreground, cunningly,
the one splash of hot
colour. A man in a scarlet smock,
out on the other side of glee,
sober with shock,
nurses an empty pot,
and stares in horror at reality.
A LATE HARVEST
Price £7.95 per copy post free (£5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover drawing: ‘High Costa Mill’ by Derek Wilkinson
Publication: 1982 (64 pages laminated paperback)