The Magical World Of The Strands, by Mark Harrison

The Magical World Of The Strands, by Mark Harrison (@MHristo) of Kent (and a member of the Kent & Sussex Poetry Society) was awarded joint Fourth Place in our 2021 Open Poetry Competition by the judge Rishi Dastidar.

This is what Rishi had to say about Mark’s poem:

Mark Harrison’s ‘The Magical World Of The Strands’, in five delicate stanzas takes us on a musician’s journey through Liverpool and its past, and their struggles to write and record a new album, while trying to pay sufficient and lasting homage to their heroes: “Arthur Lee and Nick Drake / Take turns to whisper in his dreams.” The hazy air is shattered by the final two lines, which I found devastating – not least because the story is a true one, and some of you will recognise the musician who inspired the poem.

The Magical World Of The Strands

On the corner of Clarence and Mount Pleasant
From up here in the studio, you can see the whole city
Beyond the river, New Brighton Sands and Port Sunlight
Toxteth and The Dingle looking south

Docking ships churn up the water
Pull out again into the bay
Towards the New World
All those names and faces

Two years to write and record
Nights turn into mornings
Blue and white collar everyday people
Walk past the Georgian windows

Bucolic strumming and brutal codas
Laughing, drinking and the needle’s damage done
Arthur Lee and Nick Drake
Take turns to whisper in his dreams

My last gig before plugs were pulled
In his city, on the New Strand in Bootle.
How’s Mick doing now, is he safe up there
Or has the furniture been sold again?

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