Aad ‘astwud Ta’an

The title actually says, Old Eastwood Town. For those of you who dont know, its where a certain Mr D.H.Lawrence spent most of his life. I had the misfortune to spend some of my teenage years in that godforsaken place. Not a happy time in my life. Eastwood is on the Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire border and the accent is a strange one. Men often refer to each other as youth or blue and a lot of words lose their first letter. Eastwood becomes more like Astwood, but the oo is shortened to sound like u. So Eastwood becomes Astwood, becomes ‘astwud.

The whole area was a coal mining hotspot. Every town and village for miles around had its own coal mine [pit as they are called in the area]. Sadly, in the late 70’s early 80’s when I was there, most of the pits closed and the area went rapidly down hill. I lived in foster care at the time. When I left school with no qualifications, the chances of me finding gainful employment were about nil. The years from 15 to 19 were a period of time I prefer to forget. I hope that comes through here as just what a horrible place in time I was at. Somewhere that D.H.Lawrence loved, very nearly became my final resting place. Thankfully, I was offered a way out. I grabbed it with both hands and have never looked back.

The only real evidence that D.H.Lawrence ever lived there, is a plaque on the wall of the house he lived in. For one of the most prominent UK authors of his day, I think thats rather sad.

The dole is what everyone called Unemployment Benefit and around the time I spent in Eastwood, there were over 3.5 million unemployed in the UK. That, quite frankly, was a very conservative estimate.

‘astwud blue? top o’ tha hill,
The reply to the question I asked,
Seat of my youth and hazy days long passed,
Yet a sadness in me it silently masked.

‘astwud yu sae, has one claim to fame,
A young author,D.H Lawrence his name,
Wrote poems and books, based in his day
Whiled the long evening hours away.

Carefree, young, in Lawrence’s ta’an,
Ma’re pubs than pits,yet still coal the black gold,
Skittles in yards played with laughter and beer,
Yet my thoughts of that place asail me with cold.

That were back then when he were a lad,
Nothing that happened was terribly bad,
But now I jump forward to my time spent there,
A lifetime wasted in foster care.

A ta’an urged and inspired a poet to create,
Yet days of despair were oft it gave mae,
Drink and drugs bound me to that fate,
For that was all there ever could bae.

Days sniffing glue, nights sniffing coke,
The bong fully laaded, ready tae smoke,
A cheap bottle or two of old barley beer,
Dour was life, never much cheer.

No prospects, no job, a life on the dole,
My future was planned, I watched it take shape,
I was slowly sinking into a massive black hole,
And yet, somehow, I still made my escape.

So Mr Lawrence, you can shove your old ta’an,
All it was doing was dragging me da’an,
Escaping for me was a very close shave,
I managed to avoid a very early grave.

Posted in response to a prompt over at dVerse. If you haven’t already, pop over and have a read of some of the excellent work you will find there.


13 responses to “Aad ‘astwud Ta’an

  • brian miller

    not too many make that escape from coal land…even once the mines dry…its the only life they have known and wont leave family…been to harlan, ky enough time to know that…smiles…nice use of language as well man…

  • lazywednesdays

    i like the accent and dialect in this poem… i’m from manchester originally and i remember it was a very long winding drive to nottingham where i stayed with friends at the uni and frequented the black orchid after downing lots of vodka… a bad lot those lads and lasses. i love lawrence and enjoyed the references to him in your poem!

  • Claudia

    oh heck tino..tight emotions in this..glad you managed to escape.. some places are just no good match for our inner conditions… i so know what you mean and thanks for the explanation es well.. sad indeed

  • Daydreamertoo

    I’ve lived in coal mining towns. Once lived in Hartlepool, (Cleveland) I’m so glad you left it behind and climbed out of those pits. Loved the dialect. It is sad that such a well known author only gets a small plaque but then again, we’ve truly never been an over the top exhibitionist nation, have we?
    Very, very nice read Tino, thanks.

  • coalblack

    Hi, it’s Fireblossom in her WordPress clothes. Thanks so much for your comment on my poem “Smoke Tree & Apple.” In answer to your question, I would answer with an unequivocal “yes.”

    Now then. What a grim portrait of Eastwood. Having read “Sons & Lovers”, I have some dim idea of what the place was like in Lawrence’s time, and it was grim then, too. What a shame that he only has the one little plaque. And that, after having had his books banned in his own day, and becoming so disenchanted (not to mention physically ill) that he became an expatriate.

    I read “Lady Chatterly’s Lover” when I was much younger, and it knocked me sideways. I still think it is a masterwork. I carry a little bit of Constance Chatterly inside me, ever since. I also read “The Fox”, and it was one of the first books I had ever read with lesbian characters in it. I remember being so angry with how it ended. For having been able to write such compelling female characters, Lawrence had a maddening habit of having them bend and serve, in the end. C.C. didn’t do that, bless her.

    Well, I’ve rambled enough. I thoroughly enjoyed your poem and its honesty, as well as your comment to me. Thank you.

  • poemsofhateandhope

    Tino- this is IMMENSE! and unfortunately Eastwood/Nottingham/Derbyshire is where I live! So my neck of the woods. I get all of the imagery and the sentiment in this one….I see it everyday- the boarded up shops, the unemployed, the drug addicts in the pharmacy waiting for their methadone- and it is beautifully sad- beautifully sad that life can deal these hands to people- I’m just glad you found a way out- love the accents and localisms you used in this….not sure if your on twitter- but m tweeting this one all day Long- because it is fantastically written- great job sir!

  • Victoria C. Slotto

    So clever, Tino. Full of emotion–facing reality. Bravo, my friend.

  • Poet Laundry

    So strong, this write, and you its writer. Thanks for telling your story, love how you have weaved it for us. Well done Tino.

  • Daydreamer

    I love the language and the humor in this one. Seems like a great mixture of emotions here. Great take on the prompt!

  • Lori McClure (@lorimcspeaks)

    Such grit here, but I was thankful for the hopeful end. Well done.

  • Lindy Lee

    Socio-poetic lesson in rhyme & time– thank you for this & all your writings here on WordPress…

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