Thursday, 4 May 2017


Sixty-Three, Sixty-Three Years On…

I lived at number 63,
‘Auntie’ Ron lived next door
And often, when she walked to or from a ‘bus,
I rode my tricycle alongside
On clean, clear pavements,
With trash noticeably absent…
All smiles for the camera and no fuss.
Greyscale, uncluttered, just ‘Auntie’ Ron and me…

I returned 63 years on,
To see a new, white door
And parked vehicles jammed along gutters;
I strolled alongside my old abode
On crude, uneven paving slabs,
With litter not noticeably absent…
Wary eyes watched as my steps became stutters
And any belonging I had felt was soon gone…

Undeniably and correctly,
Life moves on 
From greyscale
To dull modernity:
From clear roads to parking places,
From neat hedges to walled niches;
From small gardens to wheely-bin spaces,
From plaster reliefs to satellite dishes:
And effectively and inexorably, 
Life blunders on…

Littered and cluttered,
Life clambers on
From simple through complex
To current insanity:
From safer streets to kids kept from harm,
From chats over fences to spying eyes;
From accompanying a neighbour to a burglar alarm, 
From simple home truths to abominable lies:
And manacled and fettered,
Life splutters on…

Pete Ray
April 2017

I lived with my parents and grandmother in a terraced house in Ward End, Birmingham until I was nearly seven.

I loved the image of ‘Auntie Ron’ and me in Bamville Road and having lived at number 63, I returned to look at the same street 63 years on from that image…

I need say little more.

Ron passed away very recently indeed and I must dedicate this poem to her memory…  

RON & ME, 1954...


NUMBER 63...



No comments:

Post a Comment