The Ballad of the Yorkshire Ripper


About this book

The Ballad of the Yorkshire Ripper (Chatto, 1987)

  • ‘Ower t'ills o Bingley
    stormclouds clap an drain
    like opened blood-black blisters
    leakin pus an pain.

    Ail teems down like stair-rods
    an swells canals an becks
    an fills up studmarked goalmouths
    an bursts on mind like sex.

    Cos sex is like a stormclap,
    a swelling in thi cells
    when lightning arrers through thi
    an tha knows there in't owt else.'

    Written in Yorkshire dialect and spoken by an unnamed narrator, the long title poem excited controversy when it first appeared. Its subject is Peter Sutcliffe but its theme is misogyny – and the same theme appears in several other poems here. As in Dark Glasses, there's a mixture of private subject matter (there are several poems about parenthood and small children) and public events, with references to several news stories of the time (including the US bombing of Libya from British air-bases, the Sara Tisdall affair and Chernobyl).



    • 61 pages
    • Publisher: Chatto & Windus (1987)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN: 0701132272
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