“At the time I wrote that poem I was just starting to do a regular music thing with The Liverpool Scene. I turned up one evening with this thing I’d been writing on and off for about five years. It grew out of notes for a painting for a start. I was doing a painting and collecting all kinds of information and a lot was just written on pieces of paper. There were things like the Guinness sign in Lime Street that went on and off one letter at a time. I found these bits of paper years later and started to work on it and it turned into a poem.”
(AH, from Conversations, Flat Earth Press, 1975)

The Entry of Christ into Liverpool 1962-64

 

The Entry of Christ into Liverpool

 

City morning. dandelionseeds     blowing from wasteground.
smell of overgrown privethedges. children's voices
in the distance. sounds from the river.
round the corner into Myrtle St. Saturdaymorning shoppers
headscarves. shoppingbaskets. dogs.

then
down the hill

THE SOUND OF TRUMPETS
cheering and shouting in the distance
children running
icecream vans
flags breaking out over buildings
black and red green and yellow
Union Jacks      Red Ensigns
LONG LIVE SOCIALISM
stretched against the blue sky
over St George's hall

Now the procession

THE MARCHING DRUMS

hideous masked Breughel faces of old ladies in the crowd
yellow masks of girls in curlers and headscarves
smelling of factories
Masks     Masks     Masks
red masks     purple masks     pink masks

crushing surging carrying me along
down the hill past the Philharmonic The Labour Exchange
excited feet crushing the geraniums in St Luke's Gardens
placards      banners      posters
Keep Britain White
End the War in Vietnam
God Bless Our Pope

Billboards hoardings drawings on pavements
words painted on the road
STOP GO HALT
the sounds of pipes and drums down the street
little girls in yellow and orange dresses paper flowers
embroidered banners
Loyal Sons of King William Lodge, Bootle
Masks more Masks crowding in off buses
standing on walls climbing fences

familiar faces among the crowd
faces of my friends the shades of Pierre Bonnard and
Guillaume Apollinaire
Jarry cycling carefully through the crowd. A black cat
picking her way underfoot
posters
signs
gleaming salads
COLMAN'S MUSTARD
J. Ensor, Fabriqueur de Masques
HAIL JESUS, KING OF THE JEWS
straining forward to catch a glimpse through the crowd,
red hair      white robe g     rey donkey
familiar face
trafficlights zebracrossings
GUIN
GUINN
GUINNESS IS
white bird dying unnoticed in a corner s
plattered feathers
blood running merged with the neonsigns
in a puddle
GUINNESS      IS     GOOD
GUINNESS     IS     GOOD     FOR
Masks     Masks     Masks     Masks     Masks
GUINNESS IS GOOD FOR YOU

brassbands cheering loudspeakers blaring
clatter of police horses
ALL POWER TO THE CONSTITUENT
ASSEMBLY
masks cheering glittering teeth
daffodils trodden underfoot

BUTCHERS OF JERUSALEM
banners cheering drunks stumbling and singing
masks
masks
masks

evening
thin sickle moon
pale blue sky
flecked with bright orange clouds
streamers newspapers discarded paper hats
blown slowly back up the hill by the evening wind dustmen with big brooms sweeping the gutters
last of the crowds waiting at bus-stops
giggling schoolgirls quiet businessmen
me
walking home
empty chip-papers drifting round my feet.

 

 

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