How So Much Has Changed

How so much has changed FBO

Goff James, How So Much Has Changed, 2018

How so much has changed

The homes

Where once I lived

Still stand

Though many times

Like nomads

We moved along to

Greener pastures new

None of the


Have been erased

Of family

Nor of friends

The joy the tears

The hopes the fears

All as one were shared

Mam and dad

Gramp and nan

Aunties uncles

Cousins all

Nursing bopas and

Strangers too

How so much has changed


All and sundry welcomed

Through the ever open door

O’er the threshold

They all stepped

Warmed with

Cups of endless

Sweetened tea

Homemade cakes and

Buns with strawberry jam

Newly made and

Smell of baking bread

Freshly rising in the oven

How so much has changed


All as one was shared

All as one we stood

All as one we ran and played

All as one we danced and sang

All the homes the same

Those with nothing gave

To those who nothing had

The lanes and streets were full

The lanes and  streets were safe

Filled full with children’s laughter

And neighbours chatting

Over garden walls and gates

Gifting fruit and veg

To go with rabbit snared

How so much has changed


Around the comforting

Burning hearth

With spitting logs and

Coal ablaze above the

Glowing ash

All would sit

In evening’s dark and

Wait their turn to hold

The toasting fork and

Watch the browning slices

With eagerness and excitement

Whilst children read and

Poems said or

Watched the fairies

Dance amidst the rising flames

As needles clicked and clacked

In making of so many

Useful things

How so much has changed


The night full filled

With chit and chat

Of this and that

And stories old recalled

And shadows strange

Upon the wall explained

In epic saga form

For all the spellbound

Listening ears

Gifted guests

After a dram or two

Would rise and sing a favourite

Hymn or tune and

All joined in and sang

In unison

Around the old piano

How those seventy years

Have flown

How so much has changed


The houses

Now have been

Transformed and



Converted attics

Where cobwebs once

Reigned supreme and

Mice scuttled noisily

Across the dusted beams

And during blizzard days

Winter’s snow

Came in covering

A treasure trove of lost

Forgotten things

Wrapped away in paper

Stored in biscuit tins and

Cardboard boxes

How so much has changed


Insulated now

With skylights two

Or dormer if the

Funds prevailed

Central heating

Gas or electric proper posh


Double glazing or

Triple glassed

More efficient

So the pundits said

In  keeping out

All unhealthy draughts

And germs and

To improve the view

Burglar alarms

Computer linked

To mobile phones

To guard the

Vacant plot

Whilst out at

Work or just away

How so much has changed


In secret places

Hidden deep and far

Faceless bureaucrats

Behind their screens

Trace and record

Every move and word

That’s made and said and

Modernists with their liberal ploys


In loud vociferous tones and

In no uncertain terms 

How great all is in

This new brave world and

How their acts of

Selfless philanthropy

Have brought a better good

For all

How so much has changed


Each word echoed

Paraphrased by sweet scented

Farting politicians who

For their winded speeches

Are rewarded in

Spurious accolades

For telling lies as truth

And spin the tales

Of their hidden

Unaccountable puppeteers

Who pull their stings

To further their own

Vested interests and fill

Their vaults with pots of gold

How so much has changed


No longer recognised

As Mr or as Mrs

Or addressed as

Dear Sir Dear Madam or

Dear Miss

But all branded now by some

Unseen corporate cowboy’s hand as


Or worse by ones forename

No longer masculines or

Feminines permissable

For fear of

Nonpolitical correctness and

Inequality and human rights


And punishments to fit

The crime not permitted

To hell with the victim’s

True life sentencing of

Injured scars and pain and grief

How so much has changed


Now when I return

To the houses

I once called home

I stand alone

People pass me by

Restless numbed

In this better world

How so much has been lost

Never to be regained

How so much has changed


Discard the spouting crap of

Broadcasters, conglomerates

And politicians who try to

Keep democracy to themselves

Their own self interests

The only goal

For the remainder

They try to keep it

Under lock and key

And in the dark

So that they can

Cover us all in bullshit

Like imprisoned mushrooms

Unable to free ourselves

From such tyranny

How so much has changed


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