View from a Window


Break time. Out of the staff room window through

            The fug of pipes and cigarettes

The landscape of industrial decline

            Has empty smokeless chimneys signal debts

To history that never will be paid

            Except by demolition. Cleanliness

Of plate glass far prefers the playing fields

            Whose straight white lines mean to impress.

But as exhaust-filled smog rolls in, it seems

            The goalposts move. What do we hear?

‘She’s right, the country needs…’ What, modernise?

            As teeth gripped pipes, what was the fear?