Old Town Elegy

poem by: Geoffrey Brewer
Written on Oct 13, 2016

The bridge still arches the road but with what design?  
The railway that once crossed Ridgeway and vale to the sea
Is erased and gone, with now scarcely residual sign
And barely more trace than near roads of Roman decree

From the bridge, track the ghosts of line, goods yard, Old Town Station 
Where we loitered and noted the numbers of each passing train
Web of steel and of steam entwined village and town across nation
'Til the Arcadian rural slow lines were made suddenly to wain

Gone: the Market where cows sheep and pigs brought in telling perceptions
The images, noises and smells of the farms to the town
The tweeded farmers with leathery limbs and faces
And gaiters of deepest sheen in a rich chestnut brown

Flaxen ropes, billhooks, pitchforks enough for a peasants' uprising
Spread along the High street and across the Corn Exchange square
While Newport Street furnished inns for all thirsts' reviving
And above all, the clock tower made skyline iconic and fair

Then was school run not cosseted, chauffeured, in family car
But raced, skipped or dawdled through field, street, market and station
Our little world teamed with action, unscreened, with no bar
Of health and safety; but adventure without filtration

In that different world did we souls in diverse forms reside
So are we the same people and do we now view the same place?
And can we yet see immortality's intimations undenied?
The adventures continue though perhaps at a difference pace.


Tags: rhyme, hope, imagery,

Add Comment

Cecilia Crasto commented:
You paint a wonderful, nostalgic picture of a simpler but happier time, I pity the youth of today, look forward to reading more of your poems.
Geoffrey Brewer commented:
Thank you Cecilia. Now they have their electronic games, but reality can be a better one.
Great imagery. You have a brilliant way of expressing thoughts through words that provides mental images of your stories. I feel as if I had visited this town as I was reading these words. Cool point about the physical location being the same geographically, with some changes, and of course the pace of the world today changes experiences at an alarming rate. Even if the bridge and market were still in tact, how many people in today's world would miss the beauty because they are too busy in their daily lives to take notice to the world that surrounds them. Our world is still very beautiful; the moon, sunrise/sunsets, but how many people take the time to pause and notice the beauty of nature?
Geoffrey Brewer commented:
Thanks to you both for your kind and thoughtful remarks It is very satisfying to know that my communication has been effective.
Christopher Russon commented:
Lovely words to your poem. It takes me back to the days I spent visiting my parents in Hailsham east Sussex The market places and bridges and the town itself.Happy memories.
Geoffrey Brewer commented:
Thank you, Christopher. Nostalgia's not what it used to be!
Geoffrey Brewer commented:
Thank you, Christopher. Nostalgia's not what it used to be!


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