First 322 words of the document:
However it is we return to the water's edge
where the ferry grieves down by the Pier Head,
we do what we always did and get on board.
The city drifts out of reach. A huge silvery bird,
a kiss on the lip of the wind, follows our ship.
This is where we were young, the place no map
or heritage guide can reveal. Only an X on a wave
marks the spot, the flowers of litter, a grave
for our ruined loves, unborn children, ghosts.
We look back at the skyline wondering what we lost
in the hidden streets, in the rented rooms,
no more than punters now in a tourist boom.
Above our heads to gulls cry yeah yeah yeah.
Frets of light on the river. Tearful air.
North-west could be seen as a number of things. It could be Duffy reflecting on her past, and wishing
that she could go back to `when [she was] young'. It could also be a comment on the decline of
Liverpool from the vibrant city that she remembers. Either way there are lots of morbid images in the
poem, such as `ghosts' and `graves'. It is the second to last poem in `feminine gospels', this could be
because it acts as a counter-weight to `The Long Queen'; in `The Long Queen' there is a feeling of
immortality, and history, the Queen marries Time. However in `North-West' Duffy is lamenting the
past and how times have changed. Duffy could be suggesting that in the future things are going to be
different for women; we will have evolved beyond `spinster, hags' etc. Although there is a poem
after `North-West `in the anthology it does not have a page number, so `North-West' really stands as
the last poem.