Sunday 12 May 2013


The bulldozers tore down Canal Street today,
These centuries old terraced homes.
The Luftwaffe couldn't have wreaked more havoc -
They're reduced to a pile of stones.

The government describe it as "Urban Renewal:
Improvements for Better Lives"
But tradition they've thoughtlessly stolen this day
From generations of Lancashire wives.

Amongst the rubble and rising dust
A frail old lady appears.
She seems to be searching for something important,
As she's so distressed and in tears.

I try to lead her away to safety,
But she kneels to reach beneath
The broken stairs and window frames
To retrieve a Christmas wreath.

It's plastic, faded and squashed almost flat,
But she holds it lovingly close
To her bosom as if it were a child.
Then she turns to me looking morose.

"My Harry bought this the year we were wed,
In nineteen-forty-three,
And it's hung in our closet ever since - this token
Of his undying love for me.

When I lost him in France the following year,
Through this I felt him near.
Then when they came to evict me, I left
My precious memento here.

Things must change I understand that,
But the sorrow is almost too much.
For they've moved me into a brand new flat
Where I've never felt Harry's touch."


  1. Aww, I so felt for the poor old lady, so sad not to feel the touch of her Harry any more I could feel her angst searching for the wreath underneath the rubble.
    So Good Ygraine!

    1. The image so touched my heart, Rose, and I just HAD to share it!
      Thank you so much for reading:)

  2. The same happens here in the rural areas. Our homes are not quite as old, yet still steeped in memories.
    There have been three homes raized in my small hamlet within weeks of each other. Sadly, these are older dwellings torn down to make room for modern monstrosities that will be occupied by vacationers only a small portion of each year.
    Last February, one of the lodges at the resort where I work, was almost burned to the ground - the top two floors were devastated in the blaze. Once the smoke settled, I watched with mingled feelings of horror and sadness as the rest of the walls were bulldozed down upon themselves. Unclaimed furniture, photographs, paintings, mirrors and toilets, all reduced to rubble and carted away.
    I saw your dear lady searching through that rubble. xx

    1. It is terribly heart breaking, isn't it? This world wide preoccupation with "progression" fails dismally when it comes to the emotional cost of modernisation.
      Memories are so, so, precious.
      Thank you so much for sharing your stories of this emotive subject with me. I feel a lot better knowing I am not alone in feeling this way. xxx

  3. This one broke my heart. To think of that old lady hugging that wreath against her chest and thinking of her Harry... A very well-written poem for sure and you address some very relevant issues. Many thanks.

    Greetings from London.

    1. Mine too! I have to confess to shedding a tear or two as I wrote it.
      To be in one's nineties, and being wrenched away from all things familiar...including precious memories, must have been absolutely devastating.
      It broke my heart.
      Many, many thanks.:)

  4. I could see and feel the human drama in this in every line. It's one of the tragedies of our age, I think: the planners and improvers unable to think on a human scale. The individual has no place on the blueprint for a new town.

    1. It is such a sad state of affairs, isn't it?
      If only the planners would think of consulting the people most likely to be affected by their ideas before going ahead, then maybe they would spare a great deal of suffering.
      Such upheaval must be devastating for someone who has lived her entire adult life in one house in the same neighbourhood.
      It is heart-breaking for me to even contemplate.
      Many thanks, Dave.

  5. Wonderful writing.. Captured this reality so well. To live to see memories removed is very hard.

    1. Thank you so much, Anthony.
      I guess we can only hope and pray this never happens to us when we are elderly...the very thought terrifies me!

  6. absolutely broke my heart!! I could feel the emotions that the old lady must have been feeling. Thank you for being the voice of people who are going through this. It certainly opened my eyes ( and heart). xo

    1. If only the planners would think of the human cost...yes, so heart breaking.
      I live in fear of this happening to me when I am old. I think it must be worse then than when we are younger...things that hardly caused a stir in youth, are already causing worries now.
      Thank you so much for understanding, Nyssa.
      I so appreciate your beautiful heart. xxx

  7. Wow... dis post touched my heart... beautifully expressed....nd ur post describes the depth of love the lady possesses for her beloved....

    Keep Smiling... God Bless You...Tc


    1. Thank you Sandeep.
      I so appreciate that.:)

  8. Isn't it wonderful to think, though sad as this is, that your interaction with this woman has reached so many. It's a deep poignancy and you captured the emotional intimacy spectacularly.

    1. I can't begin to tell you how much your words mean to me, Gnome.
      Thank you so, so much.:)


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