A time that glowed


Once it was a time that glowed:

turned-up collar, hurrying through glistening, early 60s streets.

A kind of muddling, room at Odsal Top,

or summat like that;

steam train always whistling in the distance


Dashing for the bus; overcoats,

shopping bags, windows steamed up,

conductor breathless.

Running the last yards from the corner,

hammering at the door, yelling, no reason,

just glad to be home, welcomed in, to warmth,

smell of drying clothes, butter melting into toast.

The world inside bright,

sealed from wind down the valley.

Waiting were exams to be taken,

choices to be made, but not for years yet.

Right now, the only question was:

“Did Rovers win today, dad?”



Years later, sniffing that time of the season,

the change in the air, he shivered.

Following the job, he’d moved down south,

where the winters sold you short.

No snow, just lashings of rain

that drenched the garden day after day

and left him yearning for that wind off the tops

that stung the cheek and made you gasp,

The anarchy of blizzards wiping the slate clean,

making you almost think you could start again,

instead of watching petunias past their best

clinging to dry, browning stalks,

the last geraniums awaiting the blackening frost


He pulled on his jacket and sorted the greenhouse,

stowed away the mower, washed the pots,

and came in to check if Rovers had won.

Waiting for the kettle his eyes closed;

he fled once more to his northern streets

and dreamed of the lights across the valley,

like a switchback ride in the November dark



northold agesouthyouth

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Ray Miller

Fri 30th Apr 2010 15:32

Nicely nostalgic, Greg. I liked "where the winters sold you short" and those lines that Winston cited.Not sure what you're saying here"A kind of muddling, doom at Odsal Top".

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winston plowes

Fri 30th Apr 2010 00:36

great stuff. enjoyed reading Greg. something about the simple bit -

Dashing for the bus; overcoats,
shopping bags, windows steamed up,
conductor breathless.

maybe its the regular u in bus/us/up.



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Ann Foxglove

Thu 29th Apr 2010 22:06

As so often your poems have a dreaming wistful quality, but there's always a sort of backbone running through. Can't describe what I mean exactly - never waffly anyway! Full of a delicate truth. x

<Deleted User> (7772)

Thu 29th Apr 2010 21:06

This is a seriously good poem Greg. The use of language creates an evocative mood and yearning for the north, and for the nostaglia of adolescence. There is a stoic quality to the poem, a kind of inevitablity that you would come south. yet your heart lies elsewhere. A restless quality, an unfinished element. the blackening geraniums indicating the inevitable frost - a good metaphor for life eh? There are many good analogies here, and the switchback ride of life is maybe the best! cool! xx

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