Paul Vaughan – A Poem for Hillsborough

 Paul Vaughan is a Yorkshire poet whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in I Am Not A Silent Poet, The Curly Mind, Eunoia Review and Sarasvati among others. He also edits a poetry e-zine at

7 thoughts on “Paul Vaughan – A Poem for Hillsborough

  1. Not sure I’ve got the meaning right here, but I worked in Southwark when the Bowbell struck – most of those on board the Marchioness were not wealthy (some were in fact unemployed); everyone just assumed they were. It was a tragedy to them and their families, no less so than the horrors of Hillsborough. As a trade-union member all my working life, I believe you try and get justice for all, not set one lot against another. The Thames still needs better regulating to avoid a similar accident happening. Sorry, but I was there and felt the pain.

    • Yes, you rather misconstrued my poem. It applies the same kind of blanket prejudicial language and statements toward the victims of the Marchioness disaster as was applied to the victims of the Hillsborough disaster, to flag up the appalling nature of how the latter were treated by the public and press. At the time no attempt was made to blame the Marchioness victims, and I would suggest that the fact they were neither Scousers nor football fans made a difference. The title of the poem is key. The Hillsborough reference is crucial. Maybe it was a bit too subtle.

      • The fact the poem disturbed you is in fact anomolous to way the press covered Hillsborough was disturbing. But rather too few people were disturbed by the way that Hillsborough was reported, at the time, there was a lot of head nodding.

    • The poem is entirely about Hillsborough, not the Marchioness. Hence the title, and see my reply to the comment above. I had hoped that the direct parallels of the poems’s language (re urinating on and stealing from the bodies) with the press coverage of Hillsborough would make this clear.

      • I can see what you mean, but the parallel of the poem’s language does cause a confusion as it could refer to the action of the river in the two lines above, and the horror of the survivors watching the disaster hence my comment for I watched the coverage on my local T.V. News and that perhaps effected my reaction to the poem on first reading.

  2. Interestingly, this poem divided my friends. About half immediately “got it” as a savage inditement of the treatment of the Hillsborough victims. The other half thought I was actually blaming the marchioness victims (they should know me better), and often it turned out that those people had not read the title. One person thought I was criticising the Hillsborough victims, and I didn’t really understand where she got that angle from….

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