city of birth

My mother had recently remarked

That despite her desires

I had ended up being a townie

I reflected on this

As I left the town of my birth

With the slightest hint of regret

The train jangling along

The sun shining on all it looked upon

a mighty searchlight

Highlighting every last detail

Across the backs of high terraced houses

That seem to shiver

Steeped on three storeys

All front and trousers

Their rears exposed

As dirty shabby cold and damp render

Some improved with extensions

And first floor sun terraced table and chairs

Others showing the forgotten aftermath

Of winter still at war with themselves


I look back across the town

Now knighted a city

Once the blighted fright

Of bawdy seaside humour

Ice cream Sundays

Knotted handkerchiefs

Rolled up trousers along the front

Kiss me quick hats

Two piers

All frothy candy floss and lights


Now the arty home of individual

Backstreet shops

With bars, coffee tea

And excuse me please but is that gluten free

Vegan friendly and nutty cobs

Amongst the occasional

Eggs beans bacon sausage and chips


Now only one pier

And a skeleton

Reminders of a different age

Of tinsel among the drab

But it’s still my town

A place I love to come and visit

Never losing its appeal

The town I call home

This city of my birth                              

◄ Winters past

Making tracks ►


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Martin Elder

Fri 8th Mar 2019 18:23

Many thanks too you Peter for your reading and comments. I am glad you liked it.
Much appreciated


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Peter Taylor

Thu 7th Mar 2019 23:23

Hi Martin.

This is a flawless, mellifluous, engaging and ultimately life-asserting poem which seems to have delighted just about every WOL reader!

I thoroughly enjoyed the read and am glad I eventually stumbled upon it. (I am still bemused by the system whereby poems enter into and emerge from nooks and crannies in the edifice....)

Peter T

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Martin Elder

Thu 7th Mar 2019 22:58

Thanks I will let you know when its done
love to all

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Jason Bayliss

Wed 6th Mar 2019 09:59

If you're talking about publishing mate, count me in for a copy.?


Frances Macaulay Forde

Wed 6th Mar 2019 09:13

Like Stu, I'd like to go on the pre-order list as well, please. ?

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Martin Elder

Tue 5th Mar 2019 23:02

Thanks guys for your encouragement. I will do it . I now have to make the time.

Hazel thanks for your comments. I suspect that Brighton is like many old seaside towns on stretches of the U.K. coast in that regard. When I was kid it was bit tatty . When I was in my late teens and early twenties it was still the place to gravitate to even after we had moved out into the country. Even though I now live up North it still resonates with me along with the rest of the Sussex countryside


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Stu Buck

Tue 5th Mar 2019 15:06

i'd buy it

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Hazel ettridge

Tue 5th Mar 2019 10:11

Really enjoyed this Martin. I was thinking of Brighton as I read It, but also my own seaside home town oop north. The non-stop images, like a series of old fashioned picture postcards, were vivid and full of humanity. Like it very much.

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Martin Elder

Tue 5th Mar 2019 09:49

Thank you Frances and Jason for your encouragement. It is something I have considered for some time. Maybe it is time to do something about it.
Thank you again

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Jason Bayliss

Mon 4th Mar 2019 07:05

Martin, they're all right, descriptive, evocative and emotive. My favourite line is also, "All front and trousers, their rear ends exposed."
Frances is also right, if you really want to publish, small run, low cost, low risk.
Worst comes to worst, you'll have something interesting to show the grandkids one day.?

J. x

Frances Macaulay Forde

Mon 4th Mar 2019 01:42

Martin, I don't connect how self-publishing a chapbook of poems could possibly make you 'an old fart'.
In these days of digital printing I am a great believer and promoter of self-publishing poetry. Most will never make money out of poetry books but if you can cover your costs by being sensible and only printing small runs... I recommend it.
Gather 20 or more poems on a theme and do the cover to reflect the theme. If you've got a large stapler, a digital printer, some card and plenty of paper... go for it at home!
You could tout them at the readings you do and if you only sell one at each reading, that's a huge compliment!
There's nothing quite like reading from your own book.

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Martin Elder

Sun 3rd Mar 2019 15:52

Thanks to David Rachel Nigel Desmond, Anya and Heart of Lead for likes.
Thanks also to Jon Frances and M.C. for you encouraging comments

Frances I sometimes think I may have enough retrospective poetry to fill a small book, but I am always worried about becoming too much of an old fart.

M.C. I am glad you picked up the 'all front and trousers 'comment I was a bit concerned that people would not understand it up on it.

this was one of these poems I nearly rejected. Glad I didn't now

Thanks again to everyone
love and blessings


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M.C. Newberry

Sat 2nd Mar 2019 15:50

I go along with DW about those lines - especially the "all front and
trousers their rears exposed" - perfectly judged to evoke a mental

Frances Macaulay Forde

Sat 2nd Mar 2019 06:49

Beautifully picturesque - you do it so well, please don't stop!

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Sat 2nd Mar 2019 02:26

Hi Martin
Beautiful imagery, so much I could quote but virtually all of this Poem is a gem. Great to read. Enjoyed it immensely.

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Stu Buck

Sat 2nd Mar 2019 00:32

i am indeed martin. reading from my new book.

hope to see you there!

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Martin Elder

Fri 1st Mar 2019 23:43

Thanks Andy and Stu.

Yep I must admit to have got a little lost and confused with all the flurry of activity Andy. Glad you liked the poem

Thanks for reading Stu. I do wonder whether I am doing the memory poems too much. But time will tell. Are you going to be guest poet at Sale in June. If you are I will try and get there.

Thanks again chaps, much appreciated


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Stu Buck

Fri 1st Mar 2019 20:12

great words as ever martin, you do this kind of nostalgia very well

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Andy Millican

Fri 1st Mar 2019 19:45


Just stumbled across this in a hive of your activity whilst I see whats been happening on our own Stockport site!!

Some fantastic imagery & wonderful lines. And wrapped at the end with an appropriate echo of the beginning.

Best wishes

Andy M.

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Martin Elder

Fri 1st Mar 2019 19:38

Thanks to Anya for liking and to Keith, Dorothy and Kate for commenting. I am glad this has touched you guys. This is about my old home town of Brighton, which is on the south coast of England. I go back there from time to time if only briefly to view both the sameness and the differences that have occurred over the year. Glad you likes it.

Thanks again

<Deleted User> (19913)

Fri 1st Mar 2019 13:15

It's nostalgic but goes much deeper Martin. There are so many expectation wrapped up in the places we consider home, and the places we choose to leave behind. I enjoyed this immensely, it really spoke to me.

<Deleted User> (21487)

Fri 1st Mar 2019 10:23

"steeped on three storeys
all front and trousers
their rears exposed"

"of bawdy seaside humour
ice cream sundays
knotted handkerchiefs"

Who needs photos with vivid descriptions like that.

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keith jeffries

Fri 1st Mar 2019 09:29


A poem rich in nostalgia with affection for the past and the memories it contains. I had a similar experience over fifty years ago when I left home to join the Forces. I do remember the knotted handkerchiefs.

Thank you for this


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