Seasons in the City

I stand on my balcony
gladdened by the sight
of leaves losing their green,

being replaced by yellow,
orange, brown, even black.
There is sadness too

for soon they will fall;
leaving me exposed to a view
of unrelenting blocks of flats.

Autumn is here:

The Lady Boys of Bangkok
have arrived in Millennium Square.
I meet a friend for coffee

who wants to know when
the Lady Boys will be
replaced by the Germans:

it is one of her traditions
to bring her husband and son
to the Christmas Market

and early in the New Year
the outdoor skating rink
will appear in the Square,

whether a sign of winter
or a bringer of spring
it is difficult to say.

But, for me, I will know
winter is here when the rink
is forced to close for the day.

Snow is falling on the ice.


50 Responses to “Seasons in the City”

  1. It may be that you have to know Leeds to fully understand this poem.
    But I hope it works well enough for those who don’t know the city to enjoy


  2. Elaine Randall English Says:

    Glad to see you are writing whether I “know” Leeds or not…I enjoyed reading about it!

  3. Hi David,

    I don’t know Leeds from Leicester, but this poem says so much about city life in the dark seaon (we have the lights burning all day now, I suppose it is not much better in Leeds) , the colours and the joy of people being together.

    Leeds is an intruiging city, Lady Boys of Bangkok? 🙂 I wonder what they are. If they can be replaced by Germans, I suppose they are street hookers? Cold job!

    I like those skating rings in town, we once had one under the lighthouse too. It is so much friendlier for children than skating in the dark on a lake. To have them all cosy on a square makes me wish I could skate!

    I think the photo of the trees in front of the appartment building would go well with this poem! Have a good Autumn.

    Arohanui 🙂

    • Thank you Ina,

      I regard this poem as still a work in progress. I posted it on here because I wanted feedback from people who do not know Leeds. All my poet friends locally know the city so can understand the references but I do want to make it work for a wider audience so I may alter it depending on the comments I get.
      Your remarks are a great help in that process.

      That photo would go well with the poem but I am resisting putting pictures on here – they take up space 🙂


      • I never thought of the pics on my blog taking up space, I don’t understand it but I will ponder. Good poems like yours don’t need illustrations I suppose. I like the changeing of the leave colours too, they get spectacular just before dying.
        Thanks to your poems, I am starting to know Leeds a little. Like the Golden Acre, the lake looks a lot like a lake in the dunes here, I will try and make a picture.
        Have a warm day 🙂

      • Hi Ina,

        I am, so far, using wordpress for free. But there is a limit on the space I can use before I have to start paying. I guess I will get there eventually but, for the moment, I will try to prolong it as long as I can 🙂

        It would be good to see a picture of your lake. I look forward to that 🙂

        It is warm here today, but grey – I have needed the lights on all day.

        Take care

      • Paying doesn’t appeal to me either. I didn’t klnow there was a limit! I have several wp blogs, all for free. Thanks for letting me know, I will try and find out how it works 🙂

      • Thank you Ina for sending me that link
        I will consider the use of photos 🙂

  4. Yes, I can understand that throwing the Ladyboys in there probably raises questions (and eyebrows) for those who don’t know Leeds! hehe! Great ending!

    • lol I googled it up 🙂 Now I know what they are, but still puzzled about the Germans?

      • I might change the way that is worded.

        The Christmas market in Millennium Square is a German market. Has been for years. Which always strikes me as slightly bizarre. There does not appear to be an obvious connection!!


    • *Smile*

      Thank you Paul.
      I had to put the Lady Boys in – Their appearance in the Square is a much more reliable indicator of Autumn than the weather 🙂


  5. I do know Leeds, ‘though I haven’t spent serious time there for a number of years, and did know all the references you made, but I’m sure that it would not have detracted from the poem if I had not had that knowledge. A goodly amount of poetry relies on images and metaphors that may not be meaningful to anyone other than the author, but they still stand. If you look in the ‘doodles’ categorary on my blog, you’ll find one that relies heavily on mythology and perhaps requires more than a bit of work on behalf of the reader, but is still incredibly pertinent to what I wanted to convey. Perhaps the bigger question is, who do we write for – ourselves or others?

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      I am quite clear that I write for myself.
      But it would be a shame to make it so obscure that only I, or some inner clique, understand it. There is poetry like that out there – quite a lot of it actually! It makes me cross – poetry is not an elite art form – it is at its best when it connects at some deeper level. The first poem I ever read which made me realise poetry had something to say was ‘The Journey’ by Mary Oliver – made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up when I read it.
      Sorry, rant over!! 🙂

      I shall be along shortly to have a look at your doodles


  6. This is a lovely image of autumn in words. I remember the first time I experienced autumn in London. I found it a magical experience.
    But ah, I live in the tropics, so I usually experience autumn vicariously. 🙂

  7. Hi, David

    I found the discussion here very interesting; the thought that perhaps it might be necessary to know Leeds to appreciate the poem fully. I do know Leeds, but that isn’t what I related to here. For me, your poem was somehow about layering, if that makes sense. Or, how we feel we have reached the end of a process (or the end of a road?) but it turns out that there is more to come – perhaps good, perhaps bad (a sign of winter or a bringer of spring?). For example, the leaves that fall, then die as the next step in the process; the square becomes a rink and then is no longer a rink again; and there is ice, but on top of ice, snow…The rhythm reinforces this layering effect, I think.

    • Hi BH,

      I find the whole process of writing poetry fascinating.
      Some poems seem to just write themselves. Others, like this one, require work to get the right tone, the right layout and the right rhythm to capture what it is I am trying to say.
      I owe a lot to members of the Leeds Writers Circle who were exposed to earlier versions of this poem from a starting point of a good concept but a crap poem. Gradually it has evolved to where it is today and to a state where I felt I could expose it here. I will still regard it as a work in process until I take it back to the Circle next Monday for further comment.
      But you are absolutely right – the rhythm is very much what this poem depends on.

      Thank you

  8. David,

    I know how much care you have put into this poem and it has definitely paid off. It has been well worth the wait!

    It is so beautifully constructed and leaves me thinking I may need to spend more time before posting; I just get so excited when I have written a new one!! 🙂

    I love the gentle, yet at the same time, uncertain transition of the seasons. That seems to be the way of things here in England now doesn’t it? And how you mark this change by your observations of events.

    And the last stanza and final line are a perfect finish to the poem! there is almost a hush as the snow starts to fall on the ice. Just beautiful.

    I must also congratulate you on your much more sophisticated description of the blocks of flats! Well done!! *Big grin*

    Love you lots



    • Hi Christine,

      I am never sure which poems I get most satisfaction from – those which write themselves, or those which I have to work at. 🙂

      This one, my muse presented me with the concept, but left it up to me to develop the poem. She does that sometimes!! 🙂

      And I do know that you work on your poems before you post them 🙂

      Love you lots


  9. Elizabeth Says:

    I was referring to the ‘Wheat Harvest’, but it doesn’t matter. All I was trying to say was that I didn’t feel your poem lost anything by not knowing the place, but … I know nothing. I apologise – I wasn’t being precious and I know that your other visitors are far better judges.

  10. 🙂 yea, that’s a sure indication. we have one in salt lake, downtown … galivan center. sort of the same concept as the one in new york. though i haven’t skated here, heck haven’t in years! my ankles never were strong-enough. love the images, as always you set a vibrant yet gentle scene …

    • Thank you Eileen,

      I haven’t skated in years either although it is one of those skills you never forget – bit like riding a bicycle I guess 🙂

      When I was growing up the outdoor rinks were roller-skating rinks! I used to love them. They have all long since disappeared – replaced by skateboard alleys nowadays – and I have no intention of trying one of those 🙂


  11. Hi David,

    I have really enjoyed this poem. Even though I’ve not been to Leeds I do get a sense of place and most especially of season.
    Oddly? perhaps I get an ironic sense of colour with all the autumn leaves falling despite the incoing starkness of white and grey.
    I can very much visualise the scene of the flats slowly emerging with each passing day as more and more leaves fall.

    Your last line really halts me each time I’ve read this. I feel a great stillness and in my mind at least I can picture that skating rink at night. Overall a sense of muted noise. Everything seems off in the distance sort of like looking at the world through glass. You see but you don’t hear clearly the sounds and noises.
    Probably just me, but that’s the impression I was left with. 🙂

    The biggest impact on me with this poem is colour. Maybe because I’m painting at the moment *shrugs* 🙂 I’m left with the “snow” of reds, oranges, and yellows falling all around me in your city-scape. For myself I’m left with a transient but beautiful scene.

    Thankyou for sharing a piece of Leeds. I will think of you each time I pass my spring flowers. 🙂

    and K’sOTC 🙂

    • Thank you Tikarma for this wonderful comment.

      I recently put a photo up in FaceBook of those flats emerging through the leaves. You asked on the photo was that the tree which appears in my poems. Now you know – it is indeed 🙂

      Someone else mentioned to me the ‘stillness’ they felt on reading that line. The only line which survived intact from my first draft of this poem is the last one. I am delighted it creates the affect it does. 🙂

      And I love the beautiful scene of colours the poem creates for you. I can draw that scene in my own head and be enchanted by it. Lvely 🙂

      I hope your spring flowers are providing you with joy

      and K’sOTC 🙂

  12. Your poems, as is always the case, conjure a very vivid picture in my mind. I do not feel jilted even though I’m unfamiliar with Leeds. I love the last line.

  13. I love your work.
    The last line here is almost magical…ushers in a feeling of serenity that almost hurts.

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