Monday, March 4, 2013

Class Photograph by Douglas Dunn

We were Elizabethan girls and boys, 
Too young for politics, too old for toys. 
Then Hungary and Suez changed all that, 
Or so it feels in tired old retrospect. 
Nostalgia corrodes the intellect. 
It makes you want to eat your coat and hat.
One foot in childhood, one in adolescence, 
Rock Around the Clock made far more sense 
Even than The Battle of the River Plate – 
Stiff upper lips and Royal Navy dash, 
Its Technicolored brio and panache 
Heroic, gore-less, brilliant, out of date.
Like Ovaltineys in their Start-rite shoes – 
It catches up on you, it really does, 
This looking back, this old class photograph. 
Be-blazered in our uniforms and ties 
(Who he? Who she?) – pensioners in disguise 
As who they were, a pictured epitaph.
Pillar-boxes still red (though not much else is) 
And the scarcely visible orthodoxies 
All still in place, plus global urgency, 
Destructive wars abroad . . . And yet, God bless 
Democracy, dissent, and the NHS 
Which underpins our civic decency.

No comments: