John Carter Brown
Old Places, Old Things
The older a man gets
The more he gathers about himself
Those things that remind him
Of his youth
Souvenirs in little boxes, lovingly
Hoarded away, and gathering dust;
Books on steam-trains, old vinyl records;
Even older pen-knives, beginning to rust;
Scraps of paper, containing
Long-ago-written reminders and such;
Photographs of places once played in,
Mostly gone now.
What was once green woods and farmers' fields
Are now become car-parks, new roads
And shopping places.
Just here and there
The odd old wall or tree, to remind me
Of a much loved and familiar spot,
Or happy event.
What I used to think of as
Huge lakes and ponds (and still there)
Are now revealed as half the size, or less,
Compared to my remembrance of them,
And overrun with plastic mess.
The little town of my boyhood
Now choc-a-bloc with new homes
And industrial estates;
No room for greenwood or copses,
No room for boys to be boys anymore.
The older this man gets
The more he clings to what once was;
The more he feels regrets o'er
Happy days, so long ago, and too short,
And thinks of things that are no more.
These things are getting harder to recall
But even harder to ignore.
(Written Oct 2013)
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