Dirty old Town

© Adolphe Valette 1912

Smoke rises from the old barge
to merge with early morning fog
which will stubbornly refuse to yield
to days later warm-sun burn off.

He liked coming here to watch
the barges pass by.
It was his place to find
calm amidst an urban chaos.

He could reflect upon the
other reflections in a world
of passing strangers where,
he too wouldn’t be thought
strange for thinking
modern vehicles hideous
and new industry too extreme.

He was a Victorian man
living in a new age
aware the barge was London bound
but they could keep that ever
thriving metropolis
he loved his dirty old town.


© Daydreamertoo          *All rights reserved

The Title Dirty old Town is taken from an old folk song about the city of Manchester, which inspired the painting, and became famous in the 1950’s and 60’s sung by various artists including Rod Stewart.

Shared with Magpie Tales #131 Art of Adolphe Valette Under the Bridge 1912
Poets United #Pantry #111

Author: Daydreamer

I live on a beautiful island in Atlantic Canada.

42 thoughts on “Dirty old Town”

  1. Ah, the Victorian man. I imagine seeing him react to the new electric lamp posts and how he misses the warm glow of flickering flames early in a foggy morning… Beautiful poem.

  2. Sometimes towns like that are loved like old dogs…and the happinest times are had by all who live there!

  3. Daydreamertoo,

    Very effective language, which immediately made me see the foggy days in old Belfast and the images which I have also seen of London and Liverpool.
    Very thematic and would work well with the Raplh McTell version of the song:)

  4. You conveyed the weary sense of being immortal, a being out of its time, like de Beauvoirs ” all men are mortal ” , bravo

  5. Wonderful !, felt that sense of weariness that you infused, the weariness of immortality, of being from another time, like De Beauvoirs ” all men are mortal” , you made time stand still !

  6. It was his place to find
    calm amidst an urban chaos.

    A dirty old town has lots goodness to a city. It would have been safe friendly and carefree. That could provide less tension and conducive to better living. Nice write Bren!


  7. Wonderful opening lines which give a word picture of this dirty old town, then leading us into the solitary figure reflecting on other reflections. I really liked this poem.

  8. What a mix of images and emotions … I can feel every word, see every site, small every smell …

  9. dirty old town……oh wonderful……the image is clear..sometimes we all have something of this in us..the Victorian man living in new age….

  10. I wonder how many ‘new ages’ London has been party to over the years?
    (Now I can’t get the song out of my mind! LOL)

  11. I love how connected your hero is to his place and time. Such satisfaction! Thank you for sharing this wonderful poem, Daydreamertoo. Marvelous crafting…. =D

  12. Just a wonderful portrait not only of the man, but the barge and the loyalty to the old and dirty factory scene. I know change was/is necessary, but I wish we could still feel we made things and that goods were still a viable economic base. O’Neill’s play about this time ending, The Hairy Ape, always gets me–at the same time that I wouldn’t want those jobs.

  13. smiles….i am glad he has found his place….i understand him on some level as far as modernization goes…i do love the city though…and i understand as well his place to go and be…to reflect….

  14. Some people are happier in the past than in the present. This man seems like one of that type. Enjoyed this.

  15. Oh this is lovely…sometimes I think I was born in the wrong time period…

  16. Amazing that there are those who will never leave the place they are in, albeit it is not good to breathe the air. When it is all they know change comes hard.

  17. Really like this, I’ll take the dirty old town over the city anytime.. Thanks for sharing

Comments are closed.