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Peterloo Poets

Poetry Publishers 1972 - 2009

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HOWDEN, Keith

Onkonkay

Paperback

0905291441

Original Cover Price:

7.95

Drysdale,-Between-Dryden-&-04

ONKONKAY
Poems by Keith Howden

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’Every year the Onkonkay came heralded into the village by the song “Ay addy Onkonkay”. The Onkonkay was a sacked figure trapped in a mesh of ribbons and might have been associated with fertility or even sacrifice. But it was a landscape of few long tradition, with its deepest roots in the industrial revolution,and “Ay Addy Onkonkay” was only the voice’s imitation of the trumpet call announcing a dancing bear.’

Also by Keith Howden: Marches of Familiar Landscape (Peterloo 1978). ‘. . . dynamic and impassioned . . . Keith Howden has done something impressive and original.’ – Fraser Steel, Poetry Editor, BBC Radio.

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Onkonkay

Onkonkay
at the year’s blasting
his horned statement
beware is coming.

Of the high fell
pelted like moorland
drinks at the black streams
under thunder feasts
bright berries
of mountain ash.

Spare on the black fell
rules the raped moor
scours the waste tarns
is thorns’ king
the wind’s lost beast
whose breath acid
whose language stone
stalks the sour marshes
comes trumpeting
his beaked festival.

Moves now
his ponderous dance
on these pavements
comes yearly coiled
in children black strength
garlanded
in ribbons to drum
these mean streets.

Beware is coming.

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ONKONKAY
Price 7.95 per copy post free (5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover illustration: author’s own montage incorporating ‘Arrival of The Bear’ by Oxley Grabham (1910) courtesy of The Royal Photographic Society.
Publication: 1984 (70 pages laminated paperback)