Cliff Yates: a poem



Temple Street

(i.m. Roy Fisher)


On Temple Street, a lad

with no shoes in grey socks hands over

a lighted cigarette without stopping


or looking to the girl with the pony tail

selling The Big Issue,

her belongings and dog beside her


near the cathedral

where you remembered

the grounds full of starlings.


Thought I saw you on Corporation Street

yesterday – in your early fifties,

wearing that raincoat, climbing on a bus.



Cliff Yates' latest collection is Jam (Smith/Doorstop). Previous collections include Henry's Clock and Frank Freeman's Dancing School (Salt Publishing; KFS). He has been the winner of the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and the Poetry Business Competition. This poem is from a forthcoming pamphlet with Knives Forks & Spoons Press.