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Scarborough, Yorkshire:  a lady's parasol is blown away  by the wind after a visit to the ruined castle      Date: 1813
Scarborough Castle


Still ruling the roost:

12345678901234567890123guarding both bays

with the old town

12345678901234567890123in her skirts.

The keep’s looking

12345678901234567890123suitably weathered

and below the walls

12345678901234567890123the moat has morphed

from dark-age ditch

12345678901234567890123to children’s playground.

But you’re thinking

12345678901234567890123of a sentry-scanned horizon

and its breaching:

12345678901234567890123of a dragon’s head

spotting the beach,

12345678901234567890123then riding towards it

on the obedient surf:

12345678901234567890123the world-serpent

and whale road

12345678901234567890123negotiated — and them:

slicing through resistance

12345678901234567890123to enter an island’s


12345678901234567890123Or some bone-cold

night in 400AD:

12345678901234567890123signal station lookouts

among the stars,

12345678901234567890123cursing and stamping,

longing for family

12345678901234567890123and olive groves.

Castle hill’s seen it all:

12345678901234567890123the bark of Norman masters;

the shamble of serfs,

12345678901234567890123where a town develops

like a print in a darkroom.

12345678901234567890123It’s three thousand years BC:

they’ll dig you up a few

12345678901234567890123millenia from now —

but today, you’re looking

12345678901234567890123over bronze-age bays and inland

as far as the eye can see —

12345678901234567890123which is why you’re up here, of course:

security comes with ocean

12345678901234567890123and cliffs wrapped around you.


Fast forward to 2012.

12345678901234567890123I’m on the Esplanade

under one of Hardy’s

12345678901234567890123full-starred heavens that winter sees;

looking down at the bay

12345678901234567890123and the spangled seafront —

a sixty-watt Las Vegas —

12345678901234567890123and then up at you,

suspended in black space,

12345678901234567890123like the limb of some great starship.



© Mike Di Placido

Picture 10099330, illustration by J Green, 1813



Mike Di Placido graduated in 2000 with an MA in Poetry from Huddersfield University. He has since published three poetry collections: Theatre of Dreams (Smith Doorstop, 2009); A Sixty Watt Las Vegas (Valley Press, 2013) and, most recently, Crow Flight across the Sun (Calder Valley Poetry, 2017) — a tribute to Ted Hughes. He has reviewed poetry for The North magazine and acted as the sole judge in both The Poetry Business’s World Cup Poetry Competition, 2010 and The Poetry Space Competition, 2017. His work has been translated into German and Romanian by the web magazine Poetrypf and has also been broadcast on British and European radio. Mike has appeared at numerous literary festivals and had work published in magazines such as The Rialto, The North, Pennine Platform and Poetry Saltzburg. He was shortlisted for The Bridport Prize in 2010. Current works in progress are a full poetry collection; a verse play centred on the malevolent dragon of Old Norse and Germanic myth; a verse memoir of his trial with Manchester United in 1970, and a literary and cultural history of his home town of Scarborough. He lives in the North Yorkshire village of Seamer with his wife and two daughters.