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notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK
Friday, March 10, 2006North to South and back again
On the train journey down I started Roger McGough's autobiography, a joy to read. He spent his early years in places very familiar to me - a mile or so from the axis between my grandmothers' homes which I frequently travelled, he lived by the famous sausage factory on our bus route into town. So his description of the geography of his early years, with its hint of wise old T.S. Eliot at the end, is one I relate to, sitting here:
Jubilee Road. Near the canal by the lift-bridge
in Litherland, a frying-pan's throw away
from the Richmond Sausage factory,
grandma McGough, having raised seven sons
and a daughter lived alone. No jubilation.
All done and dusted. Frost on the aspidistra.
Alder Street. In a roomy back-to-back
in a cul-de-sac near Seaforth Docks,
grandma McGarry, having borne thirteen
was deaf to the noise of grandchildren,
giddy aunts and messmates. 'Put the kettle on.'
'It suits you.' 'Who's for a game of cards?'
For those early years this was my geography.
My north, my south, I sailed between the two.
Since then I've travelled the world and found
that everything I learned, I already knew.