The Rover’s Return
The eternal return to The Rover’s Return,
renovated, again and again, but filled
with the ghosts of Ena Sharples and others
who walked this cobbled street before,
and every episode more or less the same,
though décor, characters, accents change
and life becomes ever more complicated
from episode to episode, the street slang
changing slightly, and ageing characters
ageing more and more as time goes by,
and yet the trumpet’s martial sound,
the rhythms of the northern brass bands,
the first of those accents to break the plum
in the mouth snobbery of Oxford English
and the BBC’s domination of the language,
and ‘hey, Mr. Oxford Don, me no graduate,
me immigrate,’ echoing round the abandoned
buildings where the working class once worked,
and the elderly were cared for by their friends
and neighbors, not tossed into care homes,
and abandoned to their fate, as they have been
so often of late, and all things change, in time
with the clocks that tick-tock forward, their clock
work everlasting, and the pigeons still there,
and those crazy chimney pots, and that cat,
slithering down the roof, and the rovers still roving,
then returning, once again to the Rover’s Return.
Click here for Roger’s reading.
Comment: For more than sixty years I have listened to Coronation Street and some things have never changed, the trumpeter from the Brass Band, the rain on the cobbles, the memories and ghosts that linger among brickwork and paint. It takes me back to my childhood, when ITV was the upstart channel that dared to challenge the might of the mighty, one might almost say, the almighty BBC. And now, here in Island View, I turn away from the color and recall the old black and white sets, with their selection of two channels, one of them advert free, and their scheduled times of programs, not the TV blaring twenty four hours a day and two hundred channels available at the touch of a button.
It’s all one sentence, though I had to stop and take a couple of breaths while reading it. My good friend and fellow poet, Jane Tims, has called me ‘the master of the long sentence,” and I do love long sentences, especially when I am in rant mode, like now. But I am also very much aware of other friends that warn me that “your sentences are too long. They are too complicated. I don’t understand them. Write shorter sentences.” OMG, FFS. LMA* – 4 – UAW** – IMHO.
Translation of unusual terms: LMA* = Leave Me Alone. UAW** = You aRe Wrong.
Acknowledgements: My quote from the poem, inaccurate, and from memory, is from John Agard, whose poetry I love. I acknowledge now his poem and its influence upon me. I too am no Oxford don, and I too am an immigrant. His wonderful reading of the full poem can be found here. John Agard, Oxford Don.