The black and the white

In the early rising dawn

When I wore shorts all the year round

And winter was just another blister

On the sole of life

The world in which we lived

Ate dressed and walked was

Mainly black or white

With just a few shades in between

The people

The buildings

The cars and the streets

Were all a dirty shade of brown and grey

There was of course the odd exception

Like something out of time

A bus, a tram or a train

But even they looked tired forlorn and filthy

In varying shades of green, brown and cream

Everywhere marked with a ring of soot, smoke and steam

Men delivered sacks of back breaking nutty slack

Shovelled broken and pummelled

Offered up to the hungry fire

Their backs bent with years of lifting

Half a hundred weight

Sometimes wet and steamy

Hissing cracking

Oval black nuts


In winter men in long khaki coloured coats

Where rain would eventually soak through

And become a heavy soggy dripping mess

Topped off by a Windsor, flat or bowler hat

Brollies only for the sophisticate or city gent

Pinstriped sparkling fresh and clean

To the office on the seven twenty three


And in the heat for those who could afford it

White flannels

Always rolled up sleeves

Any other way would seem undressed

All of this and more was how it was

Until winter turned to summer

In an effervescent explosion of bloom

And of colour

In an effort to hang loose and turn on

The sun and love were apparently born

And grey and brown

Became a purple haze

◄ Wills breath

Biscuit tin ►


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Wolfgar Miere

Wed 28th Sep 2016 07:23

Well deserved PoTW Martin.

Not only a great and sensitive reflection of memories, but also a coming of age piece.

And, thank you for your continued support and encouragement.


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Martin Elder

Tue 27th Sep 2016 10:15

Thank you so much Eva. Much appreciated.

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Eva Elizabeth

Sun 25th Sep 2016 17:54

I love this so much. Such a beautiful poem

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Martin Elder

Tue 20th Sep 2016 22:40

Thanks Stu, Colin, Ray, Cynthia and Harry, much obliged to you all.
I totally agree with you Ray, I am reminded of school for scoundrels starring both of the said gentlemen.
I also relate to what Harry says about a colourless monotone world. I remember my dad coming home from work in the winter before we had a car , his beige mac soaked through and coloured films seemed to be the preserve of Disney in my small eyes then.
know what you mean about winter Colin, who knows what it is going to bring?
Thanks again guys

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Harry O'Neill

Mon 19th Sep 2016 20:50

Somehow this reminds me of staggering out from my first technicolor film as a lad early in the war, to a grim, drab - looking Scotland road and the early warning air-raid sirens wailing away. It was like walking out of heaven. Thank God for Betty Grable!

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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Mon 19th Sep 2016 17:33

Much enjoyed, Martin. Very evocative. Hope to see you in Sale tomorrow.

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Sun 18th Sep 2016 22:20

Shades of Terry Thomas, Ian Carmichael, bobbies on the beat, everyone knowing their place and automatic servility. I remember it all so well, Martin. A nicely expressed timepiece. So much has changed - and now we have the lottery !


<Deleted User> (13762)

Sun 18th Sep 2016 21:52

Just caught this Martin before I logged off. Enjoyed it immensely. Can't say I'm much looking forward to winter. And for a while global warming promised us a Mediterranean lifestyle. Cafe owners invested in outdoor seating but all we got was more summer rain.

Excuse me while I kiss the sky..

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Stu Buck

Sun 18th Sep 2016 21:50

wonderfully colourful and emotive martin. i really had the browns, greys and tans in my head (for some reason i couldnt get reggie perrins trip to work out of my head) and then the explosion of colour, the purple haze that bloomed so strong but never lasted long enough. a great piece of writing.

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