Foreign Country?

If only some of the past was a foreign country.
Remember that teacher
that ridiculed you 60 years ago?
The scars as familiar
as the London streets
you walked back then.
No map needed
to traverse the route
that took you through
your mother’s death.
That woman you loved
but who left you
with the oh so familiar language of heartache and pain,
in your mother tongue.
The failure, as you saw it,
of school feels like
only yesterday.
No qualifications needed
for that job you took
of no hope,
of boredom,
a cul-de-sac of ambition.
And yet the good times, too
not foreign but parochial, local,
down the road,
in the neighbourhood,
of this land.
Remembered as if it is round the corner
In the motorway of your memories,
not across some long-forgotten ocean.

Malcolm Henshall

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