About A Motorway

Not a good title but better than ‘Untitled’ –  A bit of romanticism.

What urgent malevolence
Impressed the metalled highway
Burying the cartwheel rutted tracks
Where mummers danced and acrobats
Indulgence sellers and potion vendors
Preyed on pilgrims singing praises
Making babies, telling stories
Wending their way to Walsingham?

A sombre day – progress spoke,
“Fell the ancient Hangman’s Oak,
Lay concrete carpeting on
Fields of slender celandine
Uproot mandrakes, crush sweet cicely,
Oust otter lodges from their couches
Leave no squirrel in its dray
Make a way!”

Make a way for madcap hurtlers
Heltering-skeltering to Gadarene
Teeth-grinding auto self-destruction
Abusing, cursing random strangers
Who undermine their GT isolation.

There is no time for buttercup teas
Beside a gentle sunshine stream
Watching clouds and dreaming dreams
No time to ponder the bluebell dell
Where red-haired girls in lacy dresses
Wove daisy chains for necklaces

There’s no sign of the one-room school
Teaching tables and joined up writing
No trace of the frog–pond we fished
For newts and toads and sticklebacks
Taking them home to a certain fate
In jam or pickled onion jars

Who cares that the copse
Where we played cowboys
And the Indians never won
Is gone?
Supplanted by a pet food outlet
Ikea and a ‘Homebase’
In the sainted name of progress.

Just the ghosts of red-haired girls
Keening where bluebells used to grow
Weaving wreathes of asphodel flowers
To drape the necks of hedgerow creatures
Foxes, hares and ‘clearanced’ badgers.

© coolhermit 2023
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critique and comments welcome.
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Hi Coolhermit:
You have so much here to like that I have had to come back and do read it again a few times, because it’s very powerful and descriptive. Some really potent imagery and your point is clear to the reader. This is one that will stick with me for quite some time.


Me thinks you give your age away a little with this. It certainly stirred my cells – what few I have left 😉
Nicely done…


Yes, I was there. No need to say anything else…


Delightful word choices coolhermit, drive this into splendid poem visually rich with a solid message that comes across with stark images and clarity. I used to lie awake at night listening to the M6, it never sleeps. When my parents bought the house they where given a booklet that spoke of the benefits of living so close to the motorway it even had a photo of the fly over at Haydock island with just three cars on it!! never been like that in my life time.


You have a wonderful gift – there is good rhythm to this verse and you express your thoughts very well. However, I wish you would use your talents for some other thought-provoking subject. I am surprised that at 204 years of age, you still have not come to the conclusion that some types of progress are necessary. The car let’s us travel far and wide to see new places; lorries and trucks deliver goods faster door-to-door; and we need to stop along the way to eat (buttercup teas) and rest and relieve ourselves and, of course, refill the petrol tank.… Read more »

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