All my growing years were spent
In villages and country lanes,
Alas ! For I was always meant
For city streets and busy trains
And all those years against my will
Would only serve to stoke my dream –
They stole my time and served me ill,
Depriving me of smoke and steam.
My parents thought it best for me
To live in rural peace,
But I was sick of cows and geese,
And waited for my destiny.
And so I suffered Summer days
With nothing doing but the bees –
I’d wander through the wooded ways
And couldn’t even name the trees.
Some had burrs to ruin jumpers,
Some I’d climb or hang a swing –
Some were conkers, some were scrumpers,
Some had dandruff in the Spring.
But otherwise they were the bars
Around my rural cage,
Their green and brown forever beige,
Their fruits forever trapped in jars.
But now and then, I got a taste
Of glamour, in the local towns –
But oh, it hurt to see what waste
My life had been upon the downs.
For here were markets for exploring,
Full of wonderments to buy !
And here were buildings, gleaming, soaring,
One, two, three, no four floors high !
And that was when those shining stones
Broke through my rural hold.
I knew the streets weren’t paved with gold,
But granite flags and herringbones !
It wasn’t till I finished school
That I was finished with the sticks
I mustered all my pent-up fuel,
And then I ran – I ran to bricks.
I left my folks upon the green,
For we could not be reconciled.
They love their world so small and clean –
I’m surely an adopted child !
But I still visit, for all I knock it,
Back to their rural lot
Just as long as I know that I’ve got
A return stub safe in my pocket.
The friendly weeds are rambling over
The concrete desert flats.
Dandelions, rich as clover,
Are cracking through the slats.
And people too, with dogs and cats,
And lawns and privet hedges,
Have made a world for noisy brats
To soften brutal edges.
But certain sniffy poets would
Look down on all this life,
And cannot see the neighbourhood
Within the urban strife.
And yes, the ugliness is rife
Compared to York or Kent,
But here a working man and wife
Can still afford the rent.
Downs go up and downs go down,
As wave on wave of frozen ocean
Built each ridge and vale and crown
With ev’ry ancient tide in motion.
Tiny creatures swarmed the sea
And dropped their tiny plates all over,
From Stonehenge to Normandy
As deeply as the Cliffs of Dover.
Singular alga sounds all wrong, as if the term has become strictly a mass noun.
Berlin – City of the english Language,
All Thanks to Hollywood and Touristdollars –
With bilingual Signs to ease our Angst and Anguish,
And fluent Secondtonguers and subconscious Scholars.
From Burntborough Square to Prince Elector Way
Welcome to Berlinnington-on-Spray.
A long-dead king is promenading
Before he gets re-buried in state
A tyrant, even if not the monster
That the Tudors tried to create.
But wait –
We’re missing the beauty here,
We’re too consumed with republican hate:
“Take a good look, Liz” we’re so busy gloating,
“Take a good look at ev’ry king’s fate”.
So a long-lost king was dug out of the ground –
So what ?
But how do we know whose bones we have found
Despite some five hundred years of rot ? That is the beauty we’re missing, I say –
The beauty of DNA !
It shows us just who’s our forebear or grandson –
And surely that’s all worth a king’s ransom !
And where were such secrets first teased from their source ?
Why, right here in Leicester, of course !