On the night of the 29th September 1992, a young friend called Colin Murphy died in mysterious circumstances in an empty flat in Hulme, Manchester. We believe he was chased there, at night, by a gang of thugs who then set light to the building in order to drive him out. The game however went sadly wrong as he was overcome by the smoke.

This collection of poems is dedicated to his memory. The very first and last pieces refer to the incident which caused his death. 'Prayer' and 'The Dream Is In Another Room' are based directly on things he said. Other poems, like 'The First Valentine', 'With Apologies To Pastor Niemoellor' and 'At The Art Gallery, Stockport' were particular favourites of his. Others again were composed when we were both members of the Holmfirth Writers' Group, West Yorkshire, run by Peter and Ann Sansom before its sad and untimely demise due to changes in local authority funding.

'Pit Camp' dates from the time of the last struggles of pit closures when we supported the North Staffs Miners' Wives in their efforts to keep open the mine at Trentham, near Stoke. By then, Colin was dead but, as a close friend of Rose, Brenda, Bridget and others, without question he would have spent days and weeks helping to maintain the vigil set up at the pit entrance. As it turned out this was one of the few mines to survive, but only through privatisation.

I suppose 'To A Certain Vegetarian' may seem like an attack on all those who refuse to eat meat, but it actually describes someone I knew who liked to impose her views on everyone else around her. It's really about the abuse of other peoples space and is one of the many pieces which have no direct connection to Colin whatsoever. By being included they help to make up the number of poems in the collection, which is 31. This would have been his age in years at the time of publication, had he been allowed the right to live.

Since the original creation of 'One Small Stride' most of Hulme in Manchester has been completely rebuilt. The block in which Colin lost his life, then known as Mallowdale, has been long demolished, but among the many new streets which have arisen in the area is one called Colin Murphy Road, so his memory is not just held in this publication but also in the very fabric of the city itself.

Many thanks then to Peter and Ann and members of the Holmfirth Group whose wise and supportive comments made so many of these pieces possible. Also thanks to Jim Burns and the Tuesday night group at Manchester University Extra-Mural Studies and the I*D Writers' Group who meet at Connah's Quay, North Wales. But I must also thank others who helped to make this collection possible, namely my wife Ruth and son Luke for listening so patiently and those who specifically read through the collection and made suggestions, many of which were accommodated. I refer to Linda Flower, Victor Greenfield and Robert Delahunty.

Also to Clive Hopwood, formerly secretary of I*D Books, who oversaw this booklet's final form. I must not finish without mentioning Councillor Mary Murphy, Colin's mother who with his brother and sister, has suffered his loss the most. It was she who suggested the original theme of 'Smoulder', the last piece in the book.

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