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Posted Tue Feb 10th, 2009 11:31am Post subject: Shall I compare thee to a summers day?
Here is a poem written by a woman I barely knew. I am promoting her poetry as a tribute to her life which sadly was not as long and prosperous as that enjoyed by many others. She wrote this poem about the city she spent most of her life in about a year before she lost her battle to clinical depression. Most people may have never been to Sheffield and so it may not mean too much but you can still get a good impression of what the place meant to her.

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?

Sheffield. Skyline of Lego and cranes.
I love you like a worst friend,
You sand trap of England's golf course,
You Gilded-Lilly-of-the-North,
You parochial little darling.
Sheffield. I love your blind-faith
In Rejuvenation and Regeneration,
Your willingness to be suckered-in
By glossy ads for European shampoo;
Economic Pantene-pro-V,
Pay attention now! See
Here comes the science bit...
Two billion rubbed into your cracked crucible,
Rinsed through. Hey Presto!
No more trouble at the pit.
Everything left manageable and clean.
Sheffield. I love your faith in face-cream!
Pump-priming SMEs like collagen
Into the fissures and cracks.
Sheffield. City of crumbling smoke-stacks
And abandoned warehouses refurbished as
Still-empty call and conference centres.
Sheffield. Waiting tragically in your best dress
For sugar-daddy businesses
To pay court on their knees;
And, all the while, Virgin Leeds
Laughs up her sleeves.
Sheffield. I love your dirty urban villages,
Your streets, which all run uphill.
I love the cold rain of your summers
After the damp winter's chill,
Your bran-barrel, lucky-dip mix
Of odd architecture,
The way you slap on the rouge,
Defying any paternalistic lecture
From Central Government;
A brighter colour every time
You raise another flag-ship
IT Training Centre.

Sheffield. I love the litter
Blowing down your pedestrian-strip
Like confetti at a wake,
Your new-build, up-market apartment block,
Its glass-and-steel crescent shape
The desperate smile of an old tart
Sheffield. I love your heart
Of gold. Your idea of 'luxury'
Still mired in the concept
Of 'Everything with gravy,
Bingo and a two-way bet'.
Sheffield. I love your tolerance.
Your stubborn pride in your worst mistakes,
Your public clocks that all run late:
The Station Clock - stopped.
More temperamental still
The clock upon St Mary's Gate,
And the Town Hall Clock, which willfully
Makes Greenwich Meantime wait.
Sheffield. City of different time-zones,
I love your grandiosity,
Your ever-willing readiness to dream Great
And ratchet up the council-tax
When your dreams go pear-shaped:
Your mausoleum Museum
Of Popular Culture,
The empty dugs of its steel-drum structure,
And the unfortunate corsage
Of your Winter Gardens -
That bunch of cacti in a greenhouse.
I love the droning tone-poem
Of cars queing for the M1 South
On the mounting-boa of your ring road.
Sheffield. You impossible foolish place,
You ugly blind-date
I shared a final drink with to commiserate,
Then tried to leave too late.
Sheffield. My unlikely lover at the last;
Most beautiful when looked on through
The bottom of a pint-glass.

From 'On the Edge' by Kate Strutt 2006

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Posted Tue Feb 10th, 2009 2:58pm Post subject: Shall I compare thee to a summers day?
Beautiful. You're right - I can picture Sheffield's desperate attempt to remain alive and relevant even though I've never been there.

What a talent your friend had.

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