Reading Thomas Hood’s poem on the Underground

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I remember, yes, I too remember
the house where I was born,
and the only photograph I remember
is the one I do not have
of the front, taken before the war
which commandeered for bombs
the railings and the wrought-iron gate.

I remember the jagged stumps,
and the missing gate, like a loss of face;
the absurdity of the cloche hats,
my mother sadly smiling sadly,
my kind aunt, no kids to spoil
and a suicide plan for retirement,
who kindly spoilt me sick with plums.

I remember the dining-room,
agony of long evenings, wind howling
under floor-boards, lino lifting,
reek of smoke gassing the air,
the Bakelite wireless in the corner,
wheezing and spluttering in and out of life,
my father causing friction twiddling dials.

I remember the air-raid shelter
my parents shared with old Mrs Weaver
till the last all-clear, the cat that sulked
in the cherry-tree if left for a day;
flour-faced Mrs Weaver, my first death at eight;
the cat at ten, just a whiff of gas,
after his trouble in the coal-shed.

I remember the landing,
where I stood and it was always cold,
and I’d call that I couldn’t sleep,
as they niggled away downstairs,
the one coal fire petering out,
a smouldering rumble of a row
she would miss when he’d gone.

I remember the front room,
conserved for special occasions and never used,
icy as a monk’s cell, my Meccano retreat.
I google and see new railings, a new gate –
imagine phantoms gliding from room to room,
trampling over the boy on the landing
as they traipse through the man on the train.

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© nemo 2017
Views: 688
critique and comments welcome.

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9 Comments on "Reading Thomas Hood’s poem on the Underground"

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Ionicus
Member

A poem that equals the excellence of Thomas Hood’s composition “I Remember, I Remember” which inspired your own interpretation, Gerald.
You, very skilfully, were able to adapt your personal circumstances to the original work and this device works very well.

Franciman
Member

I liked this very much, Gerald. I read this then went on to read Hood’s poem for the first time. Not surprised you drew inspiration from this. Like Luigi, I too found your piece on a par.
Superb poetry…
Cheers,
Jim

Savvi
Member

I do love a good Nemo Gerald and this is one of his finest a true delight to read, it’s like looking into that bowl in Dumbledores office after you’ve released a memory. Stunning. Keith

Ha ha had to edit Dumbledores had auto corrected to fumbled ores lol

Sweetwater
Member

I read this with a huge sense of nostalgia for the house in Guildford where I grew up.
Brilliantly written images, I felt I was looking through an old photo album . I was sorry for the poor cat though. 🙂 Sue.

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