Regeneration, by Paul Sutton

About 1974, driving into London, my parents’ car,
I’d be terrified of the houses, those north London
hulks then slums and blocks, worst of all when
there were curtains – or even shampoo bottles.
Who lived there, how did they manage it, was
the food terrible – colours pastel and peeling.

I was warned about slums, how drinkers
drunk death, the rooms in black and white –
Don McCullin or Roger Mayne. Now that’s
gone, vanished like Atlantis or Lyonesse.
Perhaps they needed someone to dig
the roads out, so much got left there.

To be honest I don’t think it matters;
my social history is vastly pointless.
I could share a million memories
and still walk through some town,
to worry about who uses buses
so late, where this traffic goes.

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