Agnes Holden sat at her window
with a cigarette forever between her lips
hacking a cough between sips
of tea by the side of her fire's glow

A widow aged beyond her years
children long since left the nest
tar building in her inflamed chest
hiding her lifelong hopes and fears

Sitting on her step in summertime
watching working class people
in the shadow of a church steeple
reminiscing on her childhood prime

Lung damage too from factory smoke
all her life in the same cobbled street
talking to bobbies on the beat
her late husband a fine upstanding bloke

Poor Aggie was a lonely soul
hanging around the local shops
using neighbours as emotional props
to fill the void of a sorrowful hole

Asking for credit with butcher and baker
the poorest among the city's poor
wolves never far from her door
no money for her undertaker

Failing hearing, eyesight and health
that smoker's cough omnipresent
birthdays passing with no present
in an inner city without wealth

Agnes passed on a December day
a pauper's funeral near the graveyard gate
scattered offspring returning too late
but Agnes' legacy is here to stay

My family still talk about "Aggie". This is the bygone age of 1950s/60s industrial inner city Manchester with poor health and poverty

I’m not usually overly emotional
over deaths of people I’ve never met
but upon hearing the news of Dolores
yesterday I wept

Her voice a soundtrack
to my life since 1992
always there when I need her
yesterday I cried

The Cranberries a cut above the fluff
hard hitting lyrics of emotion
devastated for her family and friends
yesterday I shed tears

I have no overt religious faith
but do believe in spirituality
for Dolores a kindred spirit
yesterday I prayed

The sudden death of Dolores O'Riordan has hit millions of fans hard. I surprised myself just how upset I've been.

Standing not permitted
on the upper deck
do as you're told
or risk a broken neck

Do not distract the driver
they have enough to do
jingle the bell in time
give them a clue

Some can be grumpy
but can't we all
dealing with the public
is no Cinderella's ball

Buses get stuck in traffic
roadworks and inevitable delay
you must not blame the driver
when you're having a bad day

We used to like conductors
with their clunky ticket machines
now it's all apps and mishaps
and the latest iPhone screens

Drivers do it all now
except set the fares
they have bills as well to pay
don't run down those stairs!

A dedication to my friend who is one of the just 6% of female bus drivers in Manchester

My heart was bereft
My heart was devoid
Filled with sour sorrow

You loved me yesterday
You love me today
Will you still love me tomorrow?

Chris Neilson Jan 11

What you identify with and
how you define yourself
a father, mother, son or daughter
uncle, aunt, nephew or niece
colleague, team mate or employee
all worthy and have their place

Achievements or hobbies
utilising creative brain space
non paid goals and legacies
how you would like to be remembered?
my greatest wish is that they say
"He was a poet you know"

What about you?
Chris Neilson Jan 11

While dreaming asleep in bed
Visions of a dead cow in my head
Told the doctor, this is what he said
"Friesian?", "No, I'm warm", I said

What say you?

Along the bus filled corridor
from the south of the city
through the Victorian architecture
of Withington and Fallowfield
to the world food of Rusholme
with it's plethora of barber shops
shoe shops, cafes and shisha bars
Philips Park and the eye hospital
then the university quarter
students like woolly hatted ants
a human tide of books and backpacks
our future professional generation
of doctors, scientists and philosophers
part time poets and musicians

Into the city centre bustle
of hipsters and hustlers
high flyers and homeless
rough sleepers and penthouses
a roman settlement of Castlefield
now sky scraping soulless concrete
in this original city of industry
where workers downed tools
in cotton mills for anti-slavery
American civil war brethren
built on old world immigration
integrated into a working class
of blue collars, graft and toil
bones of its makers in its soil

Musings while returning from an appointment today.
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