UKArchive ID: 36256

After Seeing Thomas Hood's Poem on the Underground
by nemo
Originally published on February 22, 2016 in Poetry        

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
of my mother sadly smiling sadly;
of my kind aunt, too, with no kids to spoil,
who kindly spoilt me with plums till I was sick,
and saved up her suicide for her retirement.

I remember the dining-room,
agony of long evenings, wind howling
under floor-boards, lino lifting,
reek of smoke filling 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 –
I imagine phantoms gliding from room to room,
trampling over the boy on the landing
as they traipse through the man on the train.

© nemo (Nemo on OLD UKA)

UKArchive ID: 36256
Archived comments for After Seeing Thomas Hood’s Poem on the Underground

Gothicman on 22-02-2016
After Seeing Thomas Hoods Poem on the Underground
Well Gerald your eternal literary kinetoscope is whirling round again! But, as your work like this poem is of such high quality, always an intriguing and pleasurable read each time, for me, you're one of the few gifted poets who can get away with it.

I know you're pushing on now, but I cannot believe you've blown the gaff in that creative brain of yours! I do think it's harder for good free verse poets to keep up the delicate nuances involved in late ageing, that is, as opposed to rhyme specialists, but, I for one am living in hope that your Muse wafts back down the Essex valleys soon! Your writer's block may be because you set your standards too high, but new work reflects you the person now, and would feel so much better to risk something? Anyway you have a brilliant repertoire to fall back on; this one much enjoyed.


Author’s Reply:
Trevor – I think I've recycled every poem I've written so I'm stuck for a while with no new stuff on the potting wheel. If there were any valleys in sunny Essex, then perhaps a muse would blow down one waving a new idea for me to leap out of my lethargy to grab. Thanks for the encouragement.


pdemitchell on 22-02-2016
After Seeing Thomas Hoods Poem on the Underground
Hi Gerald. I am awash with sepia'd nostalgia with my closed and phosphene-flaring inner eye sparkling with the rain of incendiaries. This is a well-paced free-form album-flick of images that reflect in the mind's eye of the old man in the street staring down at the cardboard-soled shoes of the forties' homes of boyhood. Brilliant! Paul

Author’s Reply:
Thanks, Paul, I'm pleased you liked it. Gerald

Mikeverdi on 25-02-2016
After Seeing Thomas Hoods Poem on the Underground
You know I love these memory lane trips of yours, I don't care if there old….so am I. Keep them coming old friend.


Author’s Reply:
Hi Mike.I guess the nom is from you – many thanks! Better to re-post than not to bother, I think, while I wait for new poems to come along.

Best wishes, Gerald.

franciman on 26-02-2016
After Seeing Thomas Hoods Poem on the Underground
Hi Gerald,

I too am in the gaping jaws of 'block'. This piece is redolent of the Nemo we know. Subtle, descriptive work that beckons the reader in. Recycling older work is good for both the writer and the reader, I would say. I'd have nominated this myself. I'll certainly vote for it.



Author’s Reply:
Many thanks, Jim. I'm pleased you like this poem. I'm ignoring the block and not getting uptight about it, concentrating instead on a new year on my allotment.

Cheers, Gerald.

Savvi on 04-03-2016
After Seeing Thomas Hoods Poem on the Underground
It's all been said Gerald but couldn't leave without saying how much I enjoyed this…superb Keith

Author’s Reply:
Many thanks, Keith. I'm pleased you enjoyed it.

Cheers, Gerald.