Saturday, 12 June 2021


                                   They've ruined my old street they have,
                                   they've blotted out the view.
                                   No far horizon can be seen,
                                   the place seems smaller too.

                                   The green field where I used to play,
                                   is long-since built upon.
                                   More kids today than ever was,
                                   but space to play has gone.
                                   The hills that once I spied afar,
                                   no longer meet my gaze.
                                   A looming building blocks them out,
                                   the street's seen better days.

                                   They call it progress - that's a laugh!
                                   The neighbourhood's a sight.
                                   Too many years of 'adding on'
                                   have packed it much too tight.

                                   And yet in dreams I see again
                                   the street I knew when young.
                                   In dreams, the dear remembered past
                                   seems near and less far-flung.

                                   So let me sleep and live in dreams,
                                   where things are as before.
                                   And if I could I'd never wake,
                                   and dream forevermore.


Philip Crawley said...

Progress, eh. Progress towards what?

They say that change is the only constant (that phrase has always amused me)and the older you become the more of it you see, not all of it for the better I'm afraid. As we humans slowly but surely grow in numbers approaching planet-choking proportions everyone needs a place to live and there goes your open spaces and views of anything save the neighbour's house - a liitle too close to your own.

Whatever happens in the outside world at least we have our rooms, or houses, full of decades worth of collections of touchstones that can, on contact, return us to simpler times, if only for an hour or two.

Kid said...

Or only until we look out of the window, PC, and are reminded that our horizons are encroaching further towards us all the time. When will it end? Only when we do, in all likelihood. Nicely worded comment.

baggsey said...

Very nice poem, Kid. Reminds me of the sentiments of Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi song:
“ Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got till it's gone
They paved paradise, put up a parking lot.”

That said, you’ve still got gloriously unspoiled areas in Scotland. 2 years ago I drove up from London via Glasgow and Fort William to a burn in Glenfinnan to scatter some ashes and was wowed by the scenery. A reminder that there is still a lot of beauty and space out there, just beyond the horizon.

Kid said...

I thought I'd posted this poem before (I know I did on my other blog), but I couldn't find it so put it up to save you the frustration of searching for something that doesn't seem to be there. What you say about the countryside scenery is true, but unfortunately I didn't grow up amongst it and therefore have no nostalgic associations with it. Alas, alack.

baggsey said...

I meant to add that I agree about too much in-building in British cities….every spare bit of “brown field” seems to get built on, and obscures the view. Growing up in Pompey, there always seemed to be more open spaces, but now I realize in many cases they were the bomb sites courtesy of the Luftwaffe, still undeveloped 20 years or more after the war!

Kid said...

My town was a new town, built to alleviate Glasgow overspill and give them a feeling of space after living in claustrophobic rows of tenement buildings. My town was designed with green fields and play areas to break up the concrete structures so that tenants wouldn't feel overcrowded. Then, in the '80s, they slyly re-designated such spaces as 'underdeveloped land', whereas they were actually part of the plan for the original development in order to create an open and spacious layout. They really have ruined it. It probably won't be too long before they have to think about creating another new town, to house the overspill from this town that was created to house the overspill from Glasgow.

Dave S said...

I feel like so many patches of green space are being built on now.

Near where I grew up, there was a big patch of grass, maybe 50metres squared. Part of it was on a slight slope, so was ideal for sunbathing, the flat part made a good football pitch, or just a nice place for people to use. Currently, there is a block of flats* being built on it. I think it's really important for areas to have some space that can be anything to anyone: where people can walk dogs, or kids can let their imagination turn it into an alien planet or whatever they're into.

I spent some of my childhood playing on a patch of land that had been a pub which "mysteriously" burnt down. Weeds, rubble and scorched timbers to some people, but to me it was the surface of Skaro, or a battleground or a hundred other things that popped into my head.

People, especially young people, need places that are a blank slate for their minds to doodle on. We are losing valuable thinking space every day.

*- Luxury flats, of course. No-one seems to build family homes nowadays.

Kid said...

There used to be a large grassy area - it probably qualified as a field - between a row of houses and a block of low-level flats on the other side of the road. Was designed that way and stayed like that for decades, DS. Then the 'underdeveloped land' edict came down and they built a three-storey old folks home (or amenity flats) on it and obliterated the once expansive view forever. Everything's so much more crowded now, completely nullifying the reason for building a new town to begin with - to give people space and not feel hemmed in.

Sad, innit?

McSCOTTY said...

Purely playing devil’s advocate here Kid but as you say where you live is a New town, and the area you live in now was once a green area with only a few farm houses. I’m sure some folk could have written that poem in the 1960’s – early 70S at how much it had changed at that time to the pre new town days – all about perspective really and sadly it will get worse - Where I live is the same the green areas have been bought up and are all new housing estates (all looking the same) as the town becomes part of an almost continuous urban conurbation stretching 13 miles in all directions to Glasgow and beyond.

Saying that at this very minute having just watched Scotland yet again under achieve at football, I wish they would build over the green turf of Hampden Park ☹

Oh and nice poem!

Kid said...

I agree with you McS. Had I lived in the Old Village area 80-odd years ago, I'd probably have lamented the fields disappearing back then as preparations were made to create the town. As you of course know, we tend to lament changes from our own childhood perspective, which is the context in which I wrote my poem, but having said that, I'd argue that my view of the town being ruined in many ways is not just subjective, and for the following reason. An open spacious town with green fields and play areas is always going to be better than an overcrowded, claustrophobic, crammed concrete jungle any day of the week. I'd say that's an objective assessment.

Blast the football and tennis, is what I say - Flog It wasn't on today because of it.

McSCOTTY said...

I don't live in EK so I can't comment on it being claustrophobic etc to live in but to someone that works there and passes through the town it certainly is expanding at a ridiculous rate, but it does have a lot of greenery on the roads at least. My pal lives in EK (across from the Olympia centre) and his area is certainly congested.

The thing I don't understand is that most towns (in our areas at least) are expanding by quite a bit but the population isn't rising as much as you would think from the amount of new developments being built. I expect some of that is due to more folk living on their own but it doesn't seem to cover all the new house being built.

Kid said...

I think part of the reason for what you say is because more relationships break up nowadays than used to be the case, so (as you say) this means that former couples then need a place of their own. There must be guys out there who have kids by five different women, who all then each need a house for them and their kids when feckless Fred disappears over the (rapidly shrinking) horizon. Too simplistic I know, but it's a contributing factor I think.

Look at the photo above the poem, McS (click to enlarge it for a better view). The first half is the street as it used to be, the second half as it now is. Hardly an improvement, is it?

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