Second Hand Clothes


Across the car park cobbles shone,

Inverted haloes, drizzle formed,

Before I crossed the road I’d smell

The resin smoke and naptha rags.


Cravats and faded patterned shirts,

Cut off from history, cast adrift:

The gladioli, hearing aids,

The ancient fabrics, damp and cold.


Above a tape of Mark E. Smith,

Of Morrissey, The Doors and Cud,

The doorbell rang, the clothes rails scratched,

The northern rain kept up its beat.


It could have been a thousand years:

How many hands, how many tears?



(Blackburn, 1987)


9 Comments to “Second Hand Clothes”

  1. So many things that were once treasures cast away. Sad to think of their history, who once owned and cared about / for them.

  2. Yes, “how many hands, how many tears”……I think you must feel the passage of history even more, living where you do. I shop in thrift stores, so my clothes have “history” too:) Orr herstory, I suppose.

  3. This is very deep and bittersweet.

  4. words so well chosen – the story and message too.

  5. Thanks for sharing Gavin…

  6. A most fitting poem for a Sunday, when the market trade in second-hand clothes is occupied most Sundays, with Car Boot Sales and now some traditional markets, making a revival. I was drawn to The Northern Town thoughts, and the lives today, with those searching for a garment to wear out of necessity and those who seek to find an inexpensive treasure, like a Morrisey gem:)
    Very thematic…

  7. And each item holds the energy of the experience and individuals associated.

  8. unfortunately we have become a spoiled, self-absorbbed, cold hearted beings! Wonderful essayist in poetry form !

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