Poetry Happening Near You

The promise

The Promise

that as the world halts, on a clear morning
the first bus will groan its way
down the bank outside the window,

a boy will lug his cart of newspapers
up the same hill, slot advertisers
in letterboxes as, over by the old train line,
the canal will roll with the rain of the last few days,
threaten to breach its banks at Foxley,

or up at Cliffe Vale where, in the flats,
a man will fold his egg sandwiches into silver foil,
another will sigh at his coming shift.
A couple will kiss as they protect themselves
from the light with the duvet,

they will ignore the sound of the blackbird
on the roof outside, warning off the other birds
hooting in Hanley, Fenton, Bentilee,
singing at the woman eating her cereal on the balcony

where she watches the cars becoming traffic
on Limekiln Bank, where she will watch, again,
the boys in skinny jeans walking home after a night of it,
the sun coming up behind.

Stephen Seabridge
June 2020



Stephen Seabridge

About this poem

This poem was commissioned by Stoke-on-Trent Libraries, supported by Poetry on Loan, from their current Poet Laureate, Stephen Seabridge. Although it was intended mainly for readers from the Stoke-on-Trent area, and mentions local places, the promise it gives is relevant to everyone, wherever they live.