The Silent Valley

Born in nineteen-seventy.

Salvation Army hospital for 

an unmarried mother.

Twelve weeks work and a baby born for free.

For some reason

you decided to keep me,

like a pointless present,

left in a drab, dusty,

chest of drawers,

rarely used or opened.

A tot terrorised

in a two and a half storey maisonette,

somewhere between the new Ikea store 

and the slum clearances

of Leeds

in the Don Revie years.


Then, at some point,


being twenty-five


driving through the Silent Valley

in two thousand and two,

I lost my mind in the Mourne Mountains.

Taking tablets twice daily since my forty-second birthday,

four thousand

three hundred and

eighty pills later,

I rattle like 

the Captain’s collection tin

on a wet Whitsunday

in Bramley.











© swissterrace 2023
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Love this especially the closing stanza, and who can forget the Don Revie years 🙂

 <span title="Pro Commenter" style="font-size : small; color: red;">***</span><p>

I couldn’t agree more with Savvi’s admiration for The Silent Valley. This is one of the most effectively contrived and moving poems I’ve read on here in a very long time. If I could, I’d make it a great read or pick! Had to look up many of the references for although I’m a born and raised Brit, I’m long distanced from the country, its politics, sociology, geology and traditions. Yet I was blown away when I finally recognized the nuanced and powerful connections between all the images. The ending is especially stunning and meaningful in the way it brings… Read more »


followed Shelagh’s comment to your good poem.

perhaps, hyphens needed, “two-and-a-half”

agree “Captain’s collection tin” very effective tie-in to the Salvation Army reference of early lines.

“I lost my mind in the Mourne mountains.” is pure,

googled and found Mourne Mountains in Ireland. “Mountains” needs to be capitalized.


This is a truly remarkable poem. The pace and imagery all combine to create a stunning piece of art.


You should visit this site more often, Sue. Your poetry is always appreciated.
Regards, Luigi x

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