Avid reader from a young age, infamous author D.H.Lawrence borrowed the Phoenix to symbolise his rise from what he described in the opening paragraph of his most controversial novel as ‘A tragic age’, continuing though with ‘So we refuse to take it tragically’, summing up the novel and his life’s philosophy – pessimism  countered by optimism – the province of the Phoenix, which I’m borrowing back now for this project.

Coming into this world then around about the time Lawrence left it, it’s almost as if Sillitoe took the literary baton, Phoenix like, from his predecessor  to also make his mark on the world via the 3r’s As have many a successful person in whichever field of expertise they desire.

Unfortunately the 3rs were somewhat compromised for me  by what I can only assume,looking back now, was an  undiagnosed case of dyslexia. Seemingly sealing my fate….

Born then, like so many, into a loving but somewhat lowly stratum of society, unremarkably on leaving school I ended up wo’kin’ down th’ pit. And so to the deja vu inducing inevitability of following in my forefathers pit booted footsteps, hundreds of feet below the beautiful world we all know – sweatin. cobs in the swelterin. heat of the gaseous bowels of the earth, snaggin. us backs on the jagged low roofs, breathin. in the deadly dust impregnated atmosphere as the coal cutter, picks swirling, threshed precariously past on its perilous passage up and down the claustrophobic confines of the most inhospitable workplace – the cruel coal face.Thankfully for me though there was a light at the end of the tunnel….                         Having battled with the 3rs, an assortment of books led me into engineering; clothing designing; manufacturing; retailing; writing short stories and poetry…  and last but by no means least this project.

A poem for you – This one was used in the ‘Nottingham  Arrow’ publication when re-opening the redeveloped Lenton Abbey play park which I’d often visited with my six children over the years, on the baby swing. Revisiting now, the swing from child to child and how when they grow out of the ‘baby swing’ stage, nearing school age, you get the sense that you’re about to lose a little of them to the system.


I push the swing.

And in between.

The years go by.

They seem unseen.

As back comes Chris.

And then its James.

Rachel, Alex and.

Martin junior,

And so to Cassy.

Who laughs and squeals.

As through the air.

Her joy we feel.

I lift her out.

She spreads her wings.

Alone to fly….

Alone to fly….

I close my eyes.

We stand alone.

The swing and I….

The swing and I….

The swing.

The baby swing.

Marti Leighton.