Bedlam Lane and the gasworks, and a freight line running through.
Red terraced houses, two-up, two-down, with the sound and the distant view
Of locomotives that grind and grate, and the railway train that runs
Conveying concrete or coal or brick or heavy naval guns.
I have loved your clanging industry, but your folk I scarcely knew!
Did they chatter and gnash their pork and pickles, twelve around the board,
Or laugh in the draughty parlour with the mallards across the wall?
Till the wallpaper faded and the sofa sagged and the young ones moved away
And mice crept over the grey-sheeted bed where Ernest, the eldest, lay ...
The buildings emptied. Now they're gone. I studied them while I could:
The shattered glass. The peeling green and white of painted wood.
Pale curtains stranded midway across. Black depths where hearths were cold ...
Yet sunlight livened the weathered brick and lustred the pane with gold.