sometime in the eighties

Harry’s mate is hosting Eurovision. Think we’ll win? asks mum
The war? asks dad, from behind the sports pages.
Can I play with the music box? I’m told to ask my sister.
Don’t touch, just listen, and she opens the little red case.
The needle moves and the Human League sing along,
to my sister’s rendition of Don’t you want me.

The country’s going to war, led, dad says, by an iron lady with a battleaxe.
While we are going to the south of France, on holiday. Hopefully.
Driving in My Car. Abroad. For the first time.
Ever. Madness.
Mum said we are going on a big fairy,
Shalamar says it will be A Night to Remember.

Scuffed, school shoes shined, hands and faces scrubbed for church.
Keep the soldiers safe, the vicar prays. Amen.
Let us go on holiday, I pray. Amen
My sister prays for an ant. Amen
Mum and Dad stay at home and listen
to Duran Duran’s Save a Prayer. Amen

Chocolate crêpes and ice-cream parlours,
Topless beaches and moonlit discos, the war’s forgot’.
Too young for the disco, I’m left behind
By pubescent teenage girls, singing out of tune
Come on Eileen

Twelve months pass and we return,
Nothing’s changed ‘cept the war’s been won and the ‘vision lost.
But my sister cries
‘Cos I’m no longer to be left behind,
And Dexy’s been forgotten with the help of
Red Red Wine.

4 thoughts on “sometime in the eighties

  1. Amazing! I am an eighties child and think your references are spot on. I struggled with this exercise hugely as I wasn’t exactly sure about writing it as a poem and I can’t seem to get any smelly references in either. I particularly like the way you’ve ended the verse with the song references, that really works to keep it balanced.


    • Thank you for the kind comments. I know exactly what you mean about the smelly references, a difficult one. The exercise I’ve found the most challenging so far is the one asking us to write about a memory using present tense. I now know what they mean by writers block!


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