HELL FOR LEATHER
He found the brown shoes on the verge
beside the Rochdale Road up on the moor.
Who’d dump a pair of shoes there with no feet?
A sailor from Lithuania? Plumber outward bound
for Blackpool for an august week? A lover
looking for another half? A drunken shepherd
on a spree? A hard man on his way to death?
Shoes bear the scars of life, their soles
know all the ginnels, cobbles, grass, the mud,
rugs, lino, pavements, slime that clasps the rain,
so many paces in the hunt, the chase that pumps
the heart, slow step of sorrow, stamp of hate,
march of arrogance, stumble of blind faith.
A crow lumbered by, a curlew trilled. He took
the shoes home, chucked them in the bin.