Eggshell and Wedgwood Blue were just two

Of the range on the colour cards Dulux

Tailored to our taste in the fifties,

Brentford nylons, Formica table tops and

Fablon shelf-covering in original oak or

Spruce under neon tubes and Dayglo shades.

Wartime brown and green went out, along with

The Yorkist Range, the wire-mesh food safe

In the cellar, the scrubbed board bath lid

And marbled glass bowl over the light bulb

With its hidden hoard of dead flies and

Rusting three-tier chain.

We moved to the new estate, Airey semis

With their pebble-dash prefabricated slats,

Built-in kitchen units and made-to-measure gardens.

Every Saturday I went back to the streets,

Dinner at Auntie Nellie’s, Yorkies, mash and gravy,

Then the matinee at the Princess with Margaret,

The queen of my ten-year old heart.

Everybody was on the move, half the neighbours

To the new estates or death, newcomers with

Rough tongues from over the bridge slum clearance.

A drive-in Readymix cement works bruised the Hollows,

Ellerby Lane School closed, St. Hilda’s bulldozed.

The trams stopped for good after the Coronation Special

In purple and gold toured the city’s tracks and

The red-white and blue on the cake at the street party

Crumbled to dust and the river-bank rats fed on it

Like Miss Haversham’s wedding feast all over again.

The cobbled hill past the Mansions led nowhere,

The buses ran empty, then the route closed.

I returned again and again in friends’ cars,

Now alone, on foot, again and again.

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