Round Oak

Untitled drawing (6)

Round Oak Steelworks

by Wendy Crickard


I went out to look at the stars

as a girl, head back circling,

mouth open drinking the ages.

The night-pool spilled silence.

Light, bright tip-fingered reached

A thousand, thousand , thousand years

for that moment,

for that girl,

that I was.


As a wisp, as a gauze, as smoke drawn

as a scarf round shoulders

veiling the deep and the known.

As the light,

as the flare,

as the furnace opened,

as the sky burned,  

as the night ceased.


I went out to look at the stars

as a woman, head back circling

mouth open tasting the clouds.

In the haze of a time

where light never sets,

where bob howlers don’t fly,

where bats don’t wheel,

between the trees

which are gone.


Editor’s Comments
Hauntings are about opposites, cycles, contradictions and in-betweens – they are, as Derrida so nicely put it, that which is both present and not present. In this haunting poem Wendy Crickard provides a vision of clashes, the industrial and the post-industrial,  rural and urban, of innocence and of experience. youth and maturity, earth and air. These clashes result in an unnerving, off-kilter investigation of one of the region’s most important landmarks and businesses, weaving into it the uncanny experience of returning to a place associated with childhood, as a grownup, and finding it altered, either by time or by perception.

Form and content are perfect dancing partners in this poem as Wendy wields her mighty weapon of lyricism in the piece too. The refrains and repetitions in terms of language, sound and image provide a beautiful and melancholic musicality to this poem as well as adding to the hauntological theme.


Wendy Crickard is a Stourbridge based poet who grew up in the Lye. She regularly performs her work in her hometown and in Dudley – recently winning The Caffe Grande Poetry Slam.



Author: rmfrancis

R. M. Francis is a poet from the Black Country. Author of Transitions (Black Light Engine Room, 2015) and Orpheus (Lapwing Publications, 2016). He's currently researching his PhD at the University of Wolverhampton

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