This poem was written at an Overspill workshop led by poet John Lindley which the Langley Writers took part in in November 2019.

Back from the future

Eight immigrants,

Indigenous population absent,

Writing in refurbished

Community centre,

Heading for mists of history.

Riverside from Merseyside

Control Bowlee Park,

Control most of overspill.

Rest consisting of

Right to buy and

New private houses.

Bowlee Park Housing Association,

Sold to residents by

Dianne Oxbury,

In expensive video.

Estate saved by irony of

Sold-off council houses,

Refusing to allow

Bulldozers relentless progress.

Swathes of social destruction

Wreaked by absentee landlord,

It’s city starved by Thatcher.

Decay, decay, decay.

The lowest ebb.

Early nineties;

Middleton Central bye-election

Highlighting abject difference

Between Rochdale’s vibrant, occupied Hollins

And Manchester’s neglected Langley.

Far cry indeed from bustle of

The Folk on the Hill, where

Newly imposed residents,

Above town of Middleton,

Spilled into a new future,

Where Loach’s Stones Rained.

A film of mixed emotions

Of folk, poor in money

But rich in humour

Portraying, above all,

Community,

Community,

Community.

©Robin Parker