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Tuesday, 8 February 2011

The 70's: A poem by Pete Marshall


The 70’s
by Pete Marshall

Darkened rooms and parlour games
& lights were out before we slept
the TV still as silence framed
and trips on stairs where terror crept.
The shadows loomed outside the door
upon a saucer burning bright
in flickered light upon the floor
we journeyed forth into the night.

The mornings came to see your breath
that floats across a nylon sheet
the ice would sit on window ledge
inside the room where children sleep.
You’d walk alone to school that day
as wind would whip around your legs
in tank-tops wove by Auntie Mae
upon the streets where life was led.

Heat would burn upon your back
midst children’s screams & drive by cars
as waters rushed the children clapped
with saucepans filled and skin picked scars.
The pistols shot at neighbours kids
that stung the eye with bubble soaks
whilst mum would spend a paper quid
to buy us drinks of bottled coke.

**************

The poem I have written today is a reflection of my childhood growing up the the 1970's. History will tell you a story, one of power cuts, the three day week, water shortages, heat waves and so forth, but it never captures the excitement of children running around a water stand pipe, collecting water for their parents to boil, whilst having an amazing water fight!

And then there was the power cuts, no TV and candle light throughout the house. With only one toilet I will never forget how lonely and brave I felt as I wandered upstairs alone!

This was also life before double glazing & central heating when you would wake to see ice  inside your windows.

This Poem is also shared for One Shot Wednesday, part of One Stop Poetry, a great platform for sharing your work and meeting other poets. It opens tonight at 10pm UK time. 5pm EST

41 comments:

Jerry said...

I guess I had it pretty good here in the states. Nice write Pete.

Dulce said...

Ah Those times when we could play yes in the streets all day and mum would not worry where you were... all was safe, everything ok, no fear, no wondering... just enjoying all we had- apparantely not that much... but, oh mroe than enough, indeed.

Hope said...

oh, so nice! beautifully done!

a wonderful way to share some of your childhood memories.
thank you

Brian Miller said...

nice capture pete...it captured the essence of being a child but also brought to light the struggles...happy one shot my friend...

Diana Lee said...

Im running out of adjectives for your writing :) This is such a wonderful glimpse into a past that was a delight despite hardships. My parents raised seven children and I can attest to some of the very same memories on this side of the sea. I love this!

Caty said...

Nice, Pete. Thanks for the trip back with such great images.

dustus said...

A wonderful, lyrical stroll down memory lane—way to capture the times and the events of those days!

Claudia said...

love it and reminds me of my childhood as well... i had an ice cold room (no central heating as you said - no heating at all...) and there were ice flowers on the window inside and my breath was breathing white clouds... and yes, playing in the streets for hours - crowds and crowds of kids and always dirty...nice..smiles

hedgewitch said...

I'm afraid my memories of the 70's are more like the movie Forrest Gump, but you bring the universal child in all of us to this piece, pete. It was the basement always that terrified me, with its huge dark piles of coal in bins, and spiders...eeew. I feel bad for kids today who can't run wild outside all day on the streets as we did. Wonderful poem.

Beachanny said...

Through the hard times and dark worries you tell a story of freedom, embarrassment and fun in childhood. We all have more in common. In the midst of whatever is going on, children find a way to be children.
Another great write, Pete. Gay

Kavita said...

This sure brought back childhood memories... more like 80s for me.. but the memories are so much so similar... power cuts/water splashing/schooooooolll.... oh my my !!! Aaarrghhh...this bout of nostalgia!!! Now how do I snap out of it!?!? :-)

I know I have said this before.. but I will say it again.. I really admire the pacing and the rhythm set in your poems, Pete... they make the reader just go with the flow... and with ease too...
Well done, my friend!!

moondustwriter said...

Excellent picture of a hard reality that many of us faced. It made us stronger my friend.

Thanks Pete for your honesty in words

Moonie

betweenhearts75 said...

I was a kid between the 70's and 80's, some hard times, and some great times so I really felt this. Incredibly written depiction of your memories. Excellent! ~April

booguloo said...

Nice memories.

Maureen said...

You have a wonderful way of delivering a story through verse.

Lucy Fur Leaps said...

OMG that takes me back! 70s child too- 'a paper quid' I remember the gang of kids me and my sister played with in the flats we lived in getting a paper quid from 'somewhere' and scheming in the wigwam in the communal garden on how to spend it in the sweetshop- it went a *long* way in 1976! This is such an evocative and finely wrought poem :-)

Carys said...

Aah man, this has brought back some memories Pete. You have such a great grasp on the rhythm and rhyme my friend, as always this is packed full of wonderful images and wrapped up with your usual impeccable timing. This so much more than nostalgia, this, for me is a great big smile on page. Thanks.

Rene/ Not The Rockefellers said...

this was spectacular
I love the image of the drive-by with water pistols

Daniel said...

What a thrill to read such a well-rhymed poem. Bravo!

Marian said...

right on, i am right there with you. whew.

Heather said...

Wicked trip down memory lane, thanks so much Pete.

Natasha said...

All that was missing was my Holly Hobby oven! What a wonderful journey down memory lane...we may have been cold but we were safe, free to roam and explore. Not all that long ago...but yet light years away. Another wonderful and much appreciated write.

Costis Demos said...

Very sweetly delivered. Even though I did not grow up in the 70's I am catching some of the imagery and the emotional air of the time. Nice work.

marousia said...

Strong poem - enjoyed reading it

Semaphore said...

I'm particularly thrilled to see a poet making a strong effort to utilize rhythm and rhyme - it's so easily ignored in this modern age. Well done!

Teresa said...

Such a wonderful picture of childhood--the fear and the excitement. Very nice!

tolbert said...

Good writing, bringing back so many memories. I lived in Californa during this time and remember the Reagan years as goveror (1967-1975), the Patty Hearst kidnapping, long gas lines and even-odd day gas rationing.

Viet Nam was a hot issue and I remember the bus ride to Oakland, wondering...

Thanks for sharing your memories of the seventies and awakening those in my life.

Good writing is a movivator, an inspiration...you did that with your well written One Stop!

budh.aaah said...

Reminds me of my childhood Pete, yes those were crazy, warm and beautiful growing up days.

Shashi said...

I could relate to is so much, Pete... I was there and there was not only power cuts but also power loss for days.. and we would play I Spy with one boy trying to find us among the streets nooks and corners for weeks together.. continuing every night.. then the siren sound of India Pakistan war... Well those were the days... you have written it so well that it got me thinking about my own childhood so vividly... Thanks

ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya
http://shadowdancingwithmind.blogspot.com/2011/02/whispers-another-kind-of-valentines-day.html

Gracetalking said...

This is familiar to me :) beautifully written.

Eric 'Bubba' Alder said...

Like opening a time capsule, Pete. (I remember the 70's too!)

Many familiar themes here, yet many were also new to me.

You took me back AND showed me something new. Very cool!

ladynimue said...

wow .. i was born much later so it was all the more interesting reading this :)

Padmavani Karkera said...

Such a visual treat Pete and I love the rhythm.

Cheers

randallweiss said...

Last Fall I replaced the windows on my house (built in 1955), so I've seen ice inside the windows as recently as last year.

The poem has wonderful imagery and an host of emotions--fear, courage, pride, nostalgia.

Mama Zen said...

This is so well done!

Susannah said...

Oooh, I remember those times too. You bought back memories. I really enjoyed your poem. :-)

dianne said...

How well I remember ice crystals forming on the single pane windows. and the darkness - even the decorating style was turned towards the dark. These memories are appropriate as my husband just came across (and made me listen to) his favorite album - Greatest hits of the 70's - on YouTube. Thanks for the well-worded memories today.

gautami tripathy said...

Wonderfully captured...


ransom

PattiKen said...

It sounds like hardship, and for parents it was. But for children, who can find joy in the simplest things, it was adventure. That's been true, I think, through the generations.

Thank you for your kind words on my post. I really appreciate them.

Steve Isaak said...

Good era work, strong images. Efficacious piece.

Christine Ramsay said...

You really take me back. I remember this all so well though it was my children that did many of those things. I remember just how much you could buy for a paper quid then. It will barely buy a loaf of bread now. A wonderful piece of nostalgia.