This blog's poems are from my published poetry book Star Steeds and Other Dreams: The Collected Poems (CFZ Press: Bideford, 2009) and are © Dr Karl P.N. Shuker, 2009. Except for author-credited review purposes, it is strictly forbidden to reproduce any of these poems elsewhere, either in part or in entirety, by any means, without my written permission.

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Tuesday, 14 September 2010


My street of Yesterday, the subject of this poem, is a side street in Wednesbury, in the West Midlands, England, where my grandparents and great-aunts once lived in a small but lovely old house, and where I spent many happy days every year throughout my childhood and teenage years. Although they are all long departed now, whenever I walk down this street today – whether in reality or only in my mind – I never see it as it is, but only as it was – back in those far-off youthful days when it was home to those dear folk who loved me so much.


Along that strangely silent street
Of Yesterday I strolled,
Where humble ragworts gaily tossed
Their joyful heads of gold
Above the gleaming wisps of grass
That peered through pavements worn,
Beneath the silken spiderwebs
Suspended old and torn
Between the ruddy bricks and slabs
Of broken tumbling walls -
Where oft I watched lithe centipedes
Laboriously crawl
On countless pairs of trembling legs,
As sparrows chattered long,
Or breathlessly in torrents poured
Out eager, scolding songs.

For here, a thriving neighbourhood
Survived through two World Wars,
And from its ceaseless gossiping
There never seemed a pause.
But all things end and soon are lost,
As progress marches on,
For Future has no time for Past,
Its ancient dreams far gone.
And as I watch, a pang vibrates
Within my beating heart,
That all my childhood dreams of Life
Should all too quickly part
Like curtains drifting back through Time,
Till, fading from my sight,
They pass fore’er from Memory
In dismal, clouded flight.

And as the leaves around my feet
In rustling dances whirl,
A tear runs slowly down my cheek
Like some reluctant pearl,
But as I gaze, my memories
Flood quickly back once more.
I see again a tiny house,
And watch its open door
Swing to, as phantoms from my past
Continue on their way,
All unaware of future worlds,
Of other, unborn days,
As like a rushing stream of ghosts
Each vision flashes by,
Recapturing their long-lost forms
Within my watching eye –

Like characters from fairy tales,
Now distant, far, and gone.
For like a living carousel
Our world moves ever on,
Till one fine day we’ll see again
Those kingdoms of our past,
And then, like they, as phantoms we
Forever more shall last,
Amidst the world that we knew best,
For all must fade and die,
And pass at last beyond the clear
Blue shadow of the sky.
And as I turn, a last farewell
Upon my ear is cast,
For still my dreams are haunted by
The murmurs of my past.

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