‘Tis but a Scratch

Like a definition of madness

Echoes refuse to fade

The needle jumps

The table turns

With a subtle touch on the arm

Music resumes

Resumes, clic

Resumes, clic

Resumes, clic

Resumes, clic

Resumes, clic

Resumes, clic

Resumes, clic

…ad nauseum


CLP 21/06/2020

Walsall: Etched in Bricks

This town, overlooked 

By residents of towers

Living layered lives up Hill Street on the Chuckery

Where long ago people raised poultry

This town, passed over

By the motorway

Raised on stilts above soiled fields

This town has history scored in bricks and street signs

See how rich in life

This poor town has once been


Walsall, valley of the Welsh

Who lived here first

A place of water for the trades

Potters on Warewell Street 

Drew water to work clay

Clothiers of Persehouse Street

These mills not just for grain

Brought in by reapers from Tasker Street

The noise of the Rollingmill

Giving metal a squeeze


Go to Wittimere and the canal basin

Washed black with tan

From stained saddlers’ hands

Tackle for the palfrey who grazed 

On Acres Short and Long

Since ploughed up for streets

As are the Butts

Where ‘Tavern, school and skyscraper stand

The site of men bending longbows in practice

But Time’s arrow has taken flight


Follow this town through these names

The route to the Marsh

Flowing into Navigation Street

Where manufactures and goods

Hauled to the Wharf

Were sent to imperial ports

By canal up through the locks

And from that empire have returned

Nurses, doctors and busmen, carers

Shopkeepers, police and railway workers

Teachers, binmen, footballers

Who filled Walsall’s gapped terraces

When jobs went and hope had gone


The glebe still marked, was land for priests 

Who lived off tithes

Paid by men and women of the fields

Lying beneath the cobbles, concrete and stone

But now alongside the Christian

Churches, halls and schools

Nanaksar Gurdwara and Aisha Mosque

Have made good derelict space 

For this poor town

Is not a godless place


Christopher Perry

6th June, 2020


n.b.  These are just a few of the place, street and road names I wondered about when I worked and wandered about Walsall for four months during the first half of 2019. A town rich in people and history. 

Chuckery: an area of Walsall thought to have specialised in raising poultry.

Warewell: a water source associated with making wares, usually pottery.

Persehouse: A place of clothe makers.

Tasker: A worker, labourer, often a reaper, or thresher.

Rollingmill: A machine that compresses metal to specific thickness.

Mere (as in Wittimere): lake.

Palfrey: A gentle pony for women to ride.

Long Acre / Short Acre: Roadside grazing area.

Butts: Targets for archery. Shares the source of “but” the French for goal in football.

Glebe: land reserved for priests to cultivate.

Tithes: Annual charge of 1/10th of all produce given to the clerics of Medieval England.

Nanaksar Gurdwara: One of Walsall’s Sikh temples.

Aisha Mosque: One of the Muslim mosques of Walsall.


This poem was my entry for a competition about Walsall, a town in the Black Country in central England. A thriving centre of industry for generations, it now features annually as one of the four most socially deprived boroughs in the England. What went wrong?


CLP 8th June 2020

In Australia

White out continues

RTZ apology

Not due anytime


n.b. 16,000 year old Aboriginal site has been destroyed, with government permission(!), despite pleas of the local indigenous population.

Notice of the blasting of the sacred site as part of the expansion of the Brockman 4 iron ore mine in Western Australia was given to the Puutu Kunti Kumarra and Pinikura people a whole 9 days before the work of desecration began on 15th May, 2020.

Mr Chris Salisbury and his colleagues at RTZ rub salt in the wounds of traditional “owners” of the sites by apologising “for the distress caused.” (for British readers and followers of Alexander Johnson’s incompetent government, note the use of the meaningless term “world class” in the company statement in the RTZ link above).

What is this, apologising for people’s reactions to harm and damage done by the apologiser? A person cannot apologise for another’s feelings, (see Priti Patel, UK Home Secretary’s recent performance, apologising for “people feeling” government has failed to provide NHS workers with adequate personal protection equipment).

A paper exercise, called “an enquiry” by Rio Tinto Zinc will follow this “misunderstanding” in the Hamersley Ranges of Western Australia.