Good Smells

Father kept chickens and Mother

took in lodgers   we weren’t very well off then

at all   Humpty Dumpty smells of raw grain

she popped me in a tram and took me to the Storrs school


They had to sell up the family firm

The Little Red Hen smells of iron filings

started in the seventeenth century

there was no way we could make a living


In the war the teacher came round our houses

four or five of us went up to the fishmonger’s

on Greystones Road   they had more room there

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland smell of mackerel


I think we did more reading because

on a dark night you couldn’t go out to play

The Forsyte Saga smells of cottage pie

he liked his Morning Telegraph   she knitted


I wanted to be a librarian   I don’t know why

I changed my mind   we did Merchant of Venice

I must say

I understand about the pound of flesh


now   we didn’t have a bookcase just a thing

a bookrest a shelf   Il Penseroso and t’other one

L’Allegro   smells of pink carbolic soap

posh universities needed you to have


Latin to study modern social science

Sheffield were the only one would have me

The Beveridge Report smells of the warm

vinegar breath of the West Street chip shops


Eleanor Brown 2015