about a motorway
about a motorway
who commanded, ‘pave the tracks’
where mummers danced with acrobats
and pilgrims singing praises
telling stories, making babies,
trod ancient ways to Walsingham?
who felled the ‘hangman’s oak’
uprooted mandrakes, crushed sweet cicely,
carving out a motorway
where helter-skelter madcap drivers
dash to auto self-destruction?
they have no time for buttercup teas
beside gentle trickling sunshine streams
watching clouds and dreaming dreams
no time to wander bluebell dells
where red-haired girls in white lace dresses
weave daisy chains for necklaces
nothing’s left of the one-room school
where we learned our tables
and joined up writing
no trace remains of the pond we fished
for newts and toads and sticklebacks
taking them home to an early death
in jam or pickled onion jars
who cares that the woody glade
where we played cowboys –
and the Indians never won – is gone
and in its place, a pet food outlet,
Ikea, and a Sainsbury’s Homebase?
just the ghosts of red-haired girls
weeping where ox-eye daisies grew
weaving wreaths of asphodel
to drape the necks of hedgerow creatures
foxes, hares, and Brock the badger.
© coolhermit 2023
Hi, Rick. I hope they don’t build a bloody motorway right across Norfolk to Walsingham. I used to love going that route on my way to Holkham. It’s bad enough duelling the A11. I do admit to using motorways in my job tho’ Necessary evil sometimes.
Newts and sticklebacks. Used to fish for them in Abbey Woods and and Danson Park lake. Ironic foxes are doing so well in cities.
I wrote a poem about a cut off farm house on the M62. I think I’ll stick it up for Monday. Thanks for the reminder.
The M11 cuts across the winding lane with hump backed bridge I rode to school (it’s now a dual carriageway spur) and the cornfield we ran around in xcountry races has been over metalled by the M11 – the Debden newt pond we fished is lost under a new build housing development – I’m hopelessly pre-industrial. I used Walsingham as it made a nice alliteration in an earlier incarnation of this poem – considered changing it to Canterbury but felt that destination is a kinda cliche. I’ve newts in a back garden scruffy pond – the newts are not troubled… Read more »
These pictures are so well drawn. Have you read Philip Larkin ‘MCMXIV’? Another study on change and lament for bygone days. It came to mind whilst I was traveling your evocative verse. I really enjoyed this and recognise the sentiments.
Thanks, Jim, I don’t recall the Larkin however I did some work on him for my first degree so I may have encountered it .. (a little later) no I have not read it but what a lovely work – so evocative – here in Hull, Larkin is one we love to hate – he had his moments – I like ‘MCMXIV” – I’ll give it another read… Thanks
saw this pic and it struck chord 🙂