Reading Thomas Hood’s poem on the Underground
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.
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.
Many thanks, Luigi. I’m pleased you liked it.
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.
Pleased you liked it, Jim. I haven’t seen any poems on the Underground lately but I know I’ve never seen Thomas Hood’s there. I made that up but perhaps it should be.
To whoever it was, thank you for the nom and nib, Much appreciated.
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
Thanks, Keith. I’m pleased you liked it. I just about know who Dumbledore is, though I’ve kept away from Harry Potter, both books and films.
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.
Thanks, Sue. I’ve written two or three more poems about the first house I lived in. I’m tempted to send copies to the present owners but only if I knew they’d be interested.