Poetry Archive Now Wordview 2021: In Days Without Names

There is no engagement ring

Love letters in a cardboard box

Fights over a will

Hidden bank details

A catalogue on how to live your life

Suggested bucket list.

It’s another anxiety dream.

In the dead hours.


I had to drive,

up Blaydon Bank,

aiming for some kind of resolution

past the Turkish barbers;

‘The Crispy Cod,’

with enough chips for the street.

In these early mornings

there’s no need to avoid the sun slam

veering to the left.


Salvation is not my goal,

something ordinary will do.

I am a pub go-er but have not been,

I’m the missing face in the bar’s mirror.

The empty seat at the match.

Menu left unread.

We walk most days and say, ‘hello’ to couples

and their look-alike sniffing dogs.

We all keep our distance,

remember when B.O. was a problem?

We clapped here at our back doors.

Spoke to silent strangers,

who shuffled away without a backward glance.

Sometimes civility ruled and we all but curtsy:

in days without names

in days without names

in days without names.

Poem recorded as part of Poetry Archive Now: Wordview 2021. Used by permission of author.

Poetry Archive Now Wordview 2021 Winners

Poetry Archive Now! was established in 2020 to enable us to gather recordings from a much wider pool of talented poets from the UK and ...

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Tom Kelly

Tom Kelly is a Tyneside writer who has had a great deal of his stage work produced by the Customs House, South Shields. His ninth poetry collection This Small Patch has recently been published and re-printed by Red Squirrel Press who also published his short story collection Behind the Wall. His stories have appeared in a number of UK magazines and on Radio Four. www.tomkelly.org.uk


A special thank you to our WordView 2021 poets.

Chair of the Judging Panel, Imtiaz Dharker, says: "An idea that began as a response to the world shutting down has, joyfully, become a way to invite the whole world in. It has been exciting to see the entries come in from different countries, from marginalised voices, from people of all backgrounds who now know this space belongs to them. My fellow judges and I were struck by the immediacy of experience and commitment to language in the winning entries. It's also good to think that the rest of the entries will continue to be seen as an invaluable record of our times."

See the collectionWatch the full Wordview 2021 playlist