Local Poetry

Memories Of Yesteryear  By Keith I. Platt - June, 1994

Taking a stroll the other day,
with skies grey and overcast,
my mind suddenly started to wander
as my feet walked through the past.

Back came memories of my youth;
those long and carefree days.
Life, one joy from morn 'til night.
Hard times, though, so history says.

Hard, Yes! But we played hard too.
We had lots of things to do.
Interests galore for the kids of yore,
with homework aplenty for the aspiring few.

'Progress' would not permit me take
the route of decades past and gone.
Where, on country paths, in woods and fields
we had such simple, honest, youthful fun.

These rural haunts now swallowed up
by industry and housing estates.
Vast expanses of country greenery
are now red brick, macadam and garden gates.

The once proud Kings of Cotton and Coal,
in our village reigned supreme.
Now they're gone. "Good riddance," some say.
But I see them still in my daydream.

In my dream, I see the spoil-heaps,
where as kids we often played.
They were our Wembley, Lords or Central Park;
that's how our dreams were made.

They may be hidden with fresh green grass,
but I see the dull grey shale.
Just as it was, as we all played
in sunshine, rain, snow or hail.

The local park, where later years
saw lifetime friendships start,
has been allowed to deteriorate
so much, it breaks my heart.

Mr. Sweeney, the old Park Keeper
would literally turn in his grave,
to see the neglect of his pride and joy,
and cruel vandalism by the depraved.

Tennis Courts and Putting Greens,
'Old Man's Cabin,' all long gone.
The once-proud Fountain desecrated,
park benches smashed for new-age fun.

Those lovingly tended gardens,
with their lawns of camomile,
are now left to return to nature,
except for a mowing once in a while.

The cobbled streets in which we played
those long-lost games of yore,
were far, far safer way back then;
now just to cross them is a chore.

I could hear the echoes from the past.
Kids enjoying innocent, harmless fun.
Skilly-levi, throw-out-can and taplatch;
Old Mrs. Davies didn't half make us run.

But today's kids just don't stand a chance
to play the games we played.
The streets are like a racing track.
The price of 'progress,' I'm afraid.

The railway station, once so busy,
is now as quiet as the grave.
Hours spent 'spotting' the magic of steam;
Thousands of 'names' and 'numbers' we'd save.

We 'spotted' many illustrious 'names.'
'The Flying Scotsman' often graced our line.
Remembering this streamlined beauty of steam,
my heart, for the old days, started to pine.

Those mammoth engineering masterpieces
have been replaced with what?
Characterless, electric monsters,
whose power source is a landscape blot.

Part of my old school still stands.
Mainly rebuilt in the modern style.
It's character, though, is not the same,
I'm afraid, not by many a mile.

I see the sights in my mind's eye,
of fifty years ago, and more.
I'm in the playground, 'chuckying,'
winning marbles by the score.

Back inside, Miss Barton's spotted me
distracting other members of the class.
I get another good clip round the ear;
quite a few of those I seemed to amass.

Back home again, I start to reflect.
To compare the present with the past.
And my conclusion was; what a crying shame
those golden days of yesteryear did not last.