The blue daisies had vanished
From the foot of the hill.
The last of the butterflies
Were hovering still.
Long beige and gold grass
Swept the grey sky
A stately black crow
Watched us walk by.
You spoke of the history
Of London’s East End,
The trials of her people
Competing for jobs.
In crowded housing
Where they could depend
On contempt from
their ‘betters’
Whom they called ‘snobs’
Yes, the old ways have gone
So have the days
When children went barefoot
And men drank the rent.
Yet some are nostalgic
For those old ways
Like pawning the one suit
For cash to be lent.
Like paying for medicine
And doctor’s care
Afraid to get ill and lose
Walking for miles when
You hadn’t the fare
And the boss insisting
You were trying to shirk.
Bring back the old days?
You had nothing to steal.
Your doors were left open.
Kids played in the street.
All the neighbours could share a meal.
And you knew the coppers
Who walked the same beat.
The warmth of communities
dissolved in time
Though the East End
had its share of crime.
The blue daisies had vanished
From the foot of the hill.
My love was still talking
I was listening still,
But Autumn’s colours
Were dazzling my eyes.
I thought how I love him
And how he is wise.


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