I remember the gasworks'
By Ivor Griffiths
smell of cooking ham
floating over tenements
Putney Bridge and Bishops Park
benches for miles along the Thames,

that smell of London mud.
Watching kids scampering down
a hundred steps - playing near the edge
At night on a balcony legs through metal railings

looking down but surrounded:
a tin bath, a mangle and outside carsi
rust and flaking paint, potted plants and traffic noise,
smell of old gas cookers

turning to see a grey stooped apron mumbling
staring into a cup,
swirling leaves peer into a future.
her eyelids twitched remembering

the smell of steam and gravy,
barefoot in winter mud, living alone with seven,
olive skins tight curly hair,
Spanish gold hidden in rags,

knew the future then she did
we live it every day.
Her lifes time ebbed away
but she needed to tell them all, so

we carried her down to the Kent flatlands
where her Mother and Sisters died,
amongst hops and mud burned her body
worshipped the woods and sang;

she twitched in flames and rain
steam spattered and hissed as she rose
and in low tones spoke and taught us all
secret chants of magic and of power

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