Coming up England by a different line For once, early in the cold new year, We stopped, and, watching men with number plates Sprint down the platform to familiar gates, 'Why, Coventry!' I exclaimed. 'I was born here.'
I leant far out, and squinnied for a sign That this was still the town that had been 'mine' So long, but found I wasn't even clear Which side was which. From where those cycle-crates Were standing, had we annually departed
For all those family hols? . . . A whistle went: Things moved. I sat back, staring at my boots. 'Was that,' my friend smiled, 'where you "have your roots"?' No, only where my childhood was unspent, I wanted to retort, just where I started:
By now I've got the whole place clearly charted. Our garden, first: where I did not invent Blinding theologies of flowers and fruits, And wasn't spoken to by an old hat. And here we have that splendid family
I never ran to when I got depressed, The boys all biceps and the girls all chest, Their comic Ford, their farm where I could be 'Really myself'. I'll show you, come to that, The bracken where I never trembling sat,
Determined to go through with it; where she Lay back, and 'all became a burning mist'. And, in those offices, my doggerel Was not set up in blunt ten-point, nor read By a distinguished cousin of the mayor,
Who didn't call and tell my father There Before us, had we the gift to see ahead - 'You look as though you wished the place in Hell,' My friend said, 'judging from your face.' 'Oh well, I suppose it's not the place's fault,' I said.