Poems by Richard, Part 2

Further poetry from the ‘pen’ of Just Write’s much-missed bard…

TV Memories

I try to think back
To when Christmas
Was not framed
By TV memories

Childhood, certainly.
Even the Queen’s speech
Which we listened to
In deferential silence,

We heard from the radio.
But in the ’60s
There were already
Things we had to watch,

Comedies, classic
Films (remember the joy
Of Some like it Hot),
The Yellow Submarine,

And on New Year’s Eve
We briefly let the Jocks
Into our living rooms
With the White Heather Club.

Then into the ’70s
And ’80s, the Christmas shows
Of Eric and Ernie,
The Two Ronnies.

We all laughed.
We all relished.
We all took away
The same memories.

Briefly, before the Tower
Of Babel tore us all
Apart, we were at one,
At ease with our minstrels

Like the ancient Greeks
Listening enrapt to Homer
Unravelling the old tales
Around the winter fires.


Nineteen hundred and fifty-nine

Coldharbour estate
London SE9
I’ve no idea whether
We are richer or poorer
Of good family or lousy
Well educated or thick
Upwardly or downwardly
Life simply is.
People simply are.

This year I ate stolen pink wafers
With Robert Smith
In his outdoor loo,
Had visits from Granddad H
With brown bags of winkles
From Woolwich market
And more rarely
From Grandpa S
With flowers and exotic toys
But I assumed they occupied
The same universe.

At school we drew
The Bayeux tapestry
Around the classroom walls
And Mrs Carpenter slapped
My left leg hard
For lying (allegedly)
About breaking Malcolm Pott’s
Stupid boat. We had summer
Day trips to Botany Bay
In a hired car which only
Broke down once, and had
To stand outside a pub
As the drunks tottered out
And a raucous row of singing
And shouting erupted
Every time the pub door swung open
And went quiet when it closed.

My brother went to boarding
School, I bought him
A tube of love hearts
When Mum told me he’d
Passed the exam, but ate them
Before I could give them to him.
They weren’t my favourite
Sweet but I thought he’d like
The motto on each one.

At Christmas the hamster
Escaped and nipped my toes
As I lay sleeping. I dreamed
I was being eaten by a lion.
He hid in the bathroom for weeks
Taking food when we were out
Until one day Siamese Peter caught him
And bit his head off after pretending
To let him go. We forgave
Peter, it was the hamster’s fault
For escaping. Otherwise he might
Still have been alive in 1960…

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