dVersepoetics – going urban

This poem is about the part of London where I was born. It is about my earliest memories of the place I lived as a very small child.

Chiswick High Street 1955







River scented Chiswick, before the motorway,
red brick walls, black-car empty streets,
thin men cycle, trousers clipped and grey,
safe from bicycle chain tangles.
Black paint, chipped, front gates close with a snick.
Three queues in Cullens: meat, cheese and dry goods,
broken biscuits brimful in open tins, cheap and tempting.
Past the cross-legged tailor, perm-stink of hairdressers,
wooden countered Woolworths, with tinny, wind-up toys
sharp edged, bright red and yellow, from Japan.
Mothers in flowered frocks, drink milky tea room tea.
I dirty my chalk white sandals
playing beneath Chiswick House

About SallyJ

I am a writer and a poet.
This entry was posted in Dversepoetry, Family, memories, poetry, writer and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to dVersepoetics – going urban

  1. claudia says:

    some city childhood memories…beautifully brought to life.. i like how you played with the scents…love the rhododendron closure….thanks for taking us back with you sally…

  2. brian says:

    nice. your verse really brings out a lot of the textures of your city…the cross legged tailor, i can see him, i smell the foods and want to climb into that shadow and play a bit…

  3. SallyJ says:

    beneath rhododendrons is a magical city for children . Thank you for your positive comments.

  4. wolfsrosebud says:

    Nice picture you’ve painted… loved the opeing.

  5. A lovely visit down memory lane. It reads like a charming place. A comforting image and feeling in reading this. Very good.

  6. jaytale says:

    I remember chalk white sandals! And the machine at Clarks Shoe shop that xrayed your feet before you bought the sandals. You could wiggle your toes and watch your green bones move inside the shoes. I think they banned these machines for health and safety reasons. It’s amazing what you can find in the memory for writing inspiration. ‘before the motorway’ says it all.

  7. Claire says:

    Oh for the open boxes of broken biscuits loved to dig down to find the chocolate pieces, weren’t they in Woolworths? Love the memories from your urban childhood.

  8. Mama Zen says:

    This is marvelous!

  9. jonmel48 says:

    Sally I too came from Chiswick (Lindon Passage) just by where the Frith photo was taken.. You’ve really evoked such strong memories in me, of growing up on Chiswick High Rd.,especially a penny worth of broken biscuits from Cullins, the distinctive smell in Gerrards the Ironmongers and Lovells Flower Shop.Thank you so much for bringing back such wonderful memories by your poem

    • SallyJ says:

      Sometimes all it takes is a word and I am back there, back then and how I revel in the memories. I am glad this did that for you John

  10. David says:

    I had a Chiswick childhood too, so many lovely memories brought back by your poem Sally. My grandad was the manager of the Cullens shop you’ve both mentioned Sally and Jon. He ran the shop from approximately 1936 – 1970 and he lived in the flat above with his family. We used to go there for tea on Sunday afternoons and stop at Mylos for an ice cream on our way home.My mum used to tell me about the broken biscuits for a penny. Sometimes during school holidays I’d sit in the shop for a few hours watching my grandad serving the customers. I remember eating the dried fruit and smelling the coffee beans. We used to walk to Cavendish school through Chiswick House Grounds every day, which was such a lovely way to start the day, or if we were feeling lazy we’d catch the E3 bus. Sometimes Hugh Grant’s mum (RIP) would give us a lift as she taught at the school and lived near us. She was such a kind soul. Chiswick will always be in my heart, I feel lucky to have been born and raised there.

    • SallyJ says:

      Oh how I envy you…a front row seat in Cullens. I can smell the mix of cheese and meat and coffee…wonderful.I used to play under the rhododendrons in Chiswick House grounds while my mother drank tea on the lawn in front of the old (now demolished I believe) art-deco tearoom. Wonderful memories. How amazing to meet you both!

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