Chester – Stephen Claughton


He was from Chester, you said,
the builder who swindled you,
as if that made everything right.

Chester was where you first taught,
where your father died,
where you met and married Dad.

It has its famous Rows,
a Norman cathedral and castle,
a racecourse and a zoo.

Yes. I remember Chester.
As kids, we’d have lunch in Quaintways,
then walk along the walls,

or take boat trips on the Dee.
Years later, I rowed my wife
as far as Eccleston Ferry.

Let’s hear it for the place
that the Romans called Deva Victrix.
Is there anywhere else you know

that can boast a hypocaust
in the basement of Spudulike?
Chester, home of Hollyoaks,

the Chester Mystery Cycle,
the Jolly Miller of Dee
and the Deva Ladies’ Choir.

Home, too, of whoever he was,
that scheming, Cestrian crook,
who ripped my mother off,

a rogue roofer who called on spec
and got her to change good tiles
for ones that didn’t match —

always a sucker for charm.
He was from Chester, you say?
So, don’t they have criminals there?


Stephen Claughton has published two pamphlets, The War with Hannibal (Poetry Salzburg, 2019) and The 3-D Clock (Dempsey & Windle, 2020). He reviews regularly for London Grip and links to his reviews, poems and pamphlets can be found at



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