From cargoes to wasteland.

The first poem that ever really grabbed me was Cargoes by John Masefield, I was about 7 years old. I think my dad could recite it off by heart and it sounded so delicious, the words were so lyrical and dripped off the page like honey and then there was the dirty British coaster and it made me so proud to be a northerner, whilst we didn’t have the opulence of the Orient, we played an important role in the world. This was when I started to write poetry but I struggled for a while as I preferred to write poems that didn’t rhyme and I didn’t know anything about structure either and had no-one to teach me.

As a teen I moved into the realms of The Wasteland and had a wonderful teacher who made the Thames maidens come alive- I can still hear the Weialala leia- and loved the references and the voices, the languages, and the tempo and timbre changes. I discovered Sylvia Plath and devoured Ted Hughes, he lived in Heptonstall for a while and I used to play there at the whit walks with the Brass Band and walk down the steep cobblestones playing my trombone. Then I stopped writing and only really started again in November 2016 as my 50th birthday present to myself, and I discovered d’Verse. I love the challenge and the words and the learning and the community. It has been a wonderful voyage of rediscovery and I love giving a voice to the past, then the stories can live on.

Winter storm

We take to the road

Spring’s adrift.

©Alison jean Hankinson

This is for d’Verse where we have been asked by Toni to explore where our inner poet was inspired and nurtured.


Manchester-moments and musings on the Lancashire cotton mills and the cotton famine. 1862.

These red bricks, these tall chimneys,

Coloured by their blood, shaped by the hands of their children

Carried on their rugged shoulders and working class calves.

We don’t look up enough, we don’t marvel at what they gave us.

These edifices echo with their pain and suffering

Voices of our forefathers, sinewed souls of our ancestors

They built their empires in cotton and coal so that we could enjoy

The fruits of their labours and be forever known as the workshop of the world.


Salford, Stalybridge, Manchester, Blackburn, Wigan-working that weft

Darwen, Accrington, Chorley, Preston, winding that bobbin up.

And the roll call falters, unemployment, hunger, desperation, and impoverishment

They stood together arm in arm, hand in hand, through protest and starvation,

To demonstrate their love and pride for another brother in another place.

We should stand tall for we stand on the shoulders of giants

They gave us humility, compassion, work ethic and pride.

True northern spirit and true northern soul.


©Alison Jean Hankinson

Featured image from the public domain labelled for reuse. Horrockses Cotton Mill Preston.

Other images are my own.

This journey into the cotton famine was a soulful journey and I am very proud of the stance taken by the Lancashire millworkers and the sacrifices they made. We were encouraged to look at soul for poetics at d’Verse. 

I have edited this and made some changes.







Shadow of our love.

You wore silk

A delicate shade


Gold brocade

Your veil feigning innocence

You captured my heart.


Nylon shift

Hides your sagging form

Rings forlorn

Scars are worn

On old withered hands laid bare

Our love lingers on.


© Alison Jean Hankinson

This is for MTB at d’Verse where we are using the form Shadorma.

To me the form suggested shadow and I thought about how as we age we still keep our shadow of youth.




Recipe for raising daughters.

A cup of love
Add in a large measure of compassion
Stir in resilience, rays of hope and a little bit of awe and wonder.
Mix with manners, humility and respect
And leave to prove in a warm and welcoming kitchen


Encourage courage and a brave heart
Give support and hope through times of hardship and self-doubt
And demonstrate that with careful consideration there can be a useful lesson learned in most experiences of failure.

Teach that family and friendship can be more fulfilling than fruitless feuding
That money doth not always maketh the man
That the road can be long and winding but however heavy the burden and load we must walk on with a glad heart.
Give them wings to fly and heritage, culture and connection to ground them.
Give them a handbag full of handy hints and useful tips and tools for everyday survival.
Ensure they are secure in the knowledge that your love will always be there at the end of the day and that without a shadow of a doubt you have got their back,
And that one day they will do the same for their own offspring.

©Alison Jean Hankinson.

To Ellen and Emily love Mumma. For International Women’s Day 2018. I am offering this also for d’Verse open link night, sorry I have been a bit quiet recently folks.




My own flock of birds…

Here they silently speak my language

Share my passion for puns

Take pride in a past that is a portrait

Of my heritage and the story of my blood.


Here I belong

The names of the rivers and valleys and mountains

Are etched as clearly in my mind as the rugged landscapes

That call out my name on wild and windy mornings

and stir my restless spirit from its slumbers.


Irwell, Ribble, Eden, Lune

Here the waters wash away my whispers

Pendle, Cribden, Criffel, Shap

Here the shale and slate smooths away my fears.


©Alison Jean Hankinson

This is for d’Verse poetics.





Burning bridges.

The salmon pink sky

The smell of spring lingers

Snow high up on the fells

If I burned my bridges

By coming home…


I gained new ground

Garnered new worths

And accept the light shining forth

Is different to the light that I imagined.


©Alison Jean Hankinson

This is for d’Verse quadrille and we were asked to consider burn.



Dystopian grey….

It was a very grey holiday, there were some bits of bright blue sky and sunlight reflecting on the freshly fallen snow but the background theme and feeling was a dreary dismal dullness of the darkness felt too long,  and the sludge and slush of snow left to linger after a cold and brilliant winter.

We went to Leith -one of my dad’s favourite songs is sunshine on Leith by the Proclaimers and I wrote about it once in They Sing For Him. So we took a winter trip to see the sunshine in Leith. It is a suburb of Edinburgh on the coast and this is what mesmerised me most, the fact that it was on the coast. I had been to Edinburgh several times to the Castle and the sights and never really thought of it as being coastal. The architecture was grey and mesmerising, It was like waking up in a different time and a different place, a truly dystopian setting. It had its own unique beauty.

Shapeshifter sky

Solitary crocus speaks

Winter’s dirge recedes.

©Alison Jean Hankinson.

The Proclaimers version

2016 cup final version

Chortle- been away too long- forgot to add the link. This is for d’Verse haibun Monday. Love to all.