My Changing Town

tram_e_farr

street_scene_-_new


Where are the little girls, dancing and skipping,
And those enamel bowls of pork fat dripping
In the new part of town?

Where run the dogs with saliva-moist bones
Over rain-washed, dark grey cobble stones
In the new part of town?

Where are the sparrows, chilled to their marrows
Through the streets broad and narrow
Of the new part of town?

Where are shop windows with little square panes?
Where are the curved and leafy lanes
In the new part of town?

Where are the rowdy, crowdy, and bawdy
Old drunks, spilling out of tap rooms tawdry
In the new part of town?

Where is the moustached old man with his cry of ‘Papers’
The finger-soiled bundles of candles and tapers
In the new part of town?

Where wafts the smell of frizzling fish frying,
The tossing and blowing of soap-washed shirts drying
In the new part of town?

What happened to Nell with her long skirts and laces?
It isn’t the same. You don’t see the same faces
In the new part of town.

One day came the monster machine and it spewed at our feet
The masses of concrete and glass by the sheet.
It made the new part of town.

And with plenty of time and infinite trouble
It squawked and it screeched and it built on the rubble
The new part of town.

And under the site of the new ‘Super-Mart’
Like the days long gone by, is buried, my heart
In the new part of town.

Margaret Watford