It feels like an alien world,
the early nineties,
less than twenty years ago;
people smoked in pubs,
looked for a phone box
if they wanted to call,
and social networks
on the internet
had yet to be invented.

I got sober in eighty-nine.
Was that when change began?
Whilst I was in treatment
they altered the rules,
pubs could stay open all day.
I did not take it personally.
Now they are open through the night.
Testosterone prowls the streets
of Leeds on a weekend.

Why to you become so defensive
when I refuse, as you put it,
to move with the times?
I tell you I have no television
You respond I hardly ever
watch it myself.
I do not care how often you watch it.
My statement regarding my life style
carries no criticism of yours
but you seem to think it does.

I took a lady out for the day,
we walked along the pier,
I watched the sea
she talked on her phone.
I need to keep it on she said,
in case anyone wants me urgently.
None of it sounded
very urgent to me
but it made her
feel important.
I did not take her out again.

I prefer to read books in their
old fashioned form, feel them,
rifle through their pages, smell them,
relish their weight in my hand.
You pretend to agree,
scroll frantically down, then sideways
and, at the same time,
surreptitiously take pictures
of the young blonde
on the next table.

Real live people contact
is better than cyber contact,
real live sex
is better than cyber sex,
yet frequently I need
to delete emails
from Delicious Doris
desperately wanting
to be my friend.

So will you come
and walk with me,
at water’s edge,
along the strand,
feel the sand, soft,
beneath our feet
as the waves
lap our toes.
We will head
toward that quiet
place inside the dunes,
make love
with sun upon my back
and wind among your hair.


46 Responses to “Nostalgia”

  1. Leeza Coleman Says:

    This is lovely, enchanting even. Nostalgia is always pretty to read about. I don’t have a TV! It was after I got sober that liquor stores started opening on Sundays. I didn’t take it personally. I enjoyed this write immensely.

    • belfastdavid Says:


      Thank you Leeza – Only by sharing our stuff do we become aware of similarities of experience – it is always good to find them

      Take care, David

  2. Longer than you usually write David but no worse for that. I love your observations on that era and the changes that have occured.

    Just think, in 89 I didn’t even have electricity, unless one of the old clapped out generators that I somethimes had was working. Just enough to run a saw or the washing machine, then the blessed silence as I switched it off.
    High tech to me was new jets and a new mantle for the calor gas lights.

    The smoking ban in pubs has put crowds of drunks OUTSIDE the pubs, like street gangs marking out their territory!

    I do have a mobile phone. In case I have a fall. But it has never made me feel important! But for so many it obviously does. Want me urgently? I don’t want to be wanted urgently! Something the ex who still has all my money never understood!

    Love the ending….. sublime!

    Best Regards ~ Res

    • belfastdavid Says:

      I was trying something different Res. Inspired perhaps by listening to Carol Ann Duffy read at Ilkley. Not, I hasten to add, that I am comparing the quality of my poetry to hers – she is a poet at the very top of her craft. But it is good to be inspired.

      And, although sometimes I think I am turning into Victor Meldrew, I do tend to use the new technology rather than have it use me.

      I suspect you and I are kindred spirits.

      Best Regards to you David

  3. Yes, I agree with you that the virtual internet world & people hooked to mobiles, T.V., technology, etc deny true aliveness & connectedness. I like nothing more than walking in a quiet wood or on a sandy beach on my own or in good company (: Good write.

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Thank you Jeff,

      Perhaps one of these days we can walk together on a sandy beach – one at Whitby perhaps


  4. David. I couldn’t let this pass without a comment. I remember saying over and over when people asked me what my email address was, that I don’t have a computer and didn’t want one. Once day I woke up wanting ont and the rest is history.

    Same with the cell phone. But now I have one. The computer has, and is, changing the world and I’m not sure for the better. But then so many things have changed since I was a lad.

    On the positive side, and at this point in my life, the computer is my link to a completely different world, and I have become . . . more or less dependent on it to keep my old brain cells active, and that it does. I quite understand your poem though, and by the way, I do not have a television either, and haven’t had for nearly two years. I don’t miss it.

    • belfastdavid Says:

      I am always delighted Jerry when you drop in.

      I am in no way unappreciative of the benefits the new technology gives us – just concerned that we do not let it take over.
      I, like you probably, came on to the internet as a way of promoting my books. I have long since given up on the notion of riding off into the sunset on the proceeds of my books, but I have, for the most part, enjoyed the journey. and certainly I have made some very good friends whom I would never have met without the internet.

      However there is nothing to compare with turning all the devices off and sharing the company of a good friend.

      My best to you


  5. Vera Hazelgrove Says:

    Yes, good memories are worth keeping and good habits worth maintaining.
    I especially love the verse about real books!! Sooo true!
    It’s good to see that you have your own standard of what is acceptable to you and what you like and stick to it.
    The other aspect of your poem which I like is, that you point out the importance of the bond with nature and the importance of actually Living, being alive. Feeling things, seeing things – using our senses – now – when it is actually happening. You have expressed that very well.
    I slightly envy you the freedom of choice though, – my being disabled, my Seeing Eye Dog gets more conversation from people than I ever do. (Maybe people feel it is easier to talk to a dog than the person with the dog), – in short my contact with the real world is very restricted and for that reason having cyber contact with like minded people or people with same interests is valuable. But when it comes to social or sex net working I am totally on your side, (figuratively, LOL, I am not masquerading as “delicious Doris!” πŸ™‚ – always keep your humor! It’s another quality which keeps us alive…

    Vera with Karley (instead of a hermit crab πŸ™‚

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Thank you Vera,

      The poem was written, as much as anything else I think, to remind myself of what my standards are. As I said to Jerry I, in no way, undervalue what I get from the cyber world. Nor do I undervalue the friends I have made through it – when I do the world tour I will have a lot of people to drop in on. πŸ™‚

      But I do need to get out there in the real world, appreciate what nature has to offer, and take the risk of meeting real people. Living, as I do, on my own I can find it too easy to isolate myself unless I keep an eye on it.

      I am fascinated by the revelation that people feel it easier to talk to Karley than it is to talk to you. I wonder what that says about them?

      As to our sense of humour – God forbid that I should ever take myself too seriously.

      My very best to you and to Karley


  6. David this poem gets my mind racing. I find it scary that at my age even I’m starting to get nostalgic for the simpler times. EEK!

    I like how you’ve framed what is important to you. The conversational tone. It makes it highly personal and certainly at least on my end provokes thought and a personal response.

    It’s easy to forget the wider world when daily life tries to take over.

    I always remind myself that while there may approximately 2.5 million Myspace profiles there are over 6.5 billion people in the world.
    Sometimes it feels like everyone is using this technology and it makes you feel like you have to or you’ll somehow be less for it, but it is in reality just a minority of people who have the access.

    It can be important access and it can certainly enhance or improve life but it should never become the sum total of your life. I know being isolated from getting out and about (can’t drive) it has been at times a valuble tool. It’s nice to talk with like minded people who share the same intrests but it can’t replace that face to face contact.

    I totally agree with you about books! There’s nothing like the tangible essence of a book in your hand. I don’t think I could ever come to one of those I-pads.
    The technology intrests me but not to own. No I-pod, or I-touch or any of those gizmos. I only just got a mobile phone last year and that’s because it was bought for me *sheepish grin* .
    I’m not anti technology obviously. Just aware life does go on when you switch the computer off and it is good to switch it off.
    I always bothers me when I hear someone say “I’d die if I didn’t have my mobile.”
    We managed for centuries, I think we still can maange if we let ourselves.
    I think its a shame when it’s easier to talk to a screen than a real person.

    *lol* as I said you got my mind racing…
    This is a very good poem, I haven’t been this agitated (in a good way) for quite some time.
    Thankyou for sharing.

    • belfastdavid Says:


      I think what I was re-acting to was not only the pace of change, although that in itself is quite drastic. My son also talks about that nostalgia you mention.
      But also the way we seem to have allowed ourselves to get sucked into an instant gratification state of mind. We seem to believe we have to be available all the time and that we have to respond instantly to demands (a ringing telephone can seem very demanding). Well BOLLOCKS!! If I am sitting in your kitchen with you and Jamie sharing tea from a bottomless teapot then that is what is important at that time – not the extraneous demands of an outside world.

      We lose something if we neglect to take the time to stop and smell the flowers along the way.

      I have an answering service on my phone at home – if I am engrossed in something I will let the answering service pick up the call. All my friends know that and know to leave a message – if it is important I will get back to them.

      It’s all about who is in control really – us or the technology!

      So I will go out for a walk in the park this afternoon and share my evenong with friends at the Leeds Writers’ Circle.

      You have a real good week


  7. Purple Paul Says:

    I remember those days. Queuing outiside phone boxes, often in the rain, just to make a short, but essential, call. Emerging from bars with a sore throat and stinking like an old ashtray, even though you’re a non-smoker.

    Those were the days! πŸ˜‰

  8. Melanie Turner Says:

    David, really enjoyed this. I find myself in a spot where I have just enough technology, thank you very much, but at the same time, I’m a little bit envious of my kids and the ease with which they use it. And I fear that if I don’t stay “up on it”, I’ll find myself falling farther and farther behind. However, if you and I were walking on the strand together, I would turn my cell phone off, I promise !!!

    • belfastdavid Says:

      I sometimes used to think Melanie, that one of the reasons for having kids was so that there was someone in the house who knew how to work the video recorder. πŸ™‚

      And given your promise you are very welcome to join me on the strand.


  9. David,

    This poem touched me deeply, and moved me to tears.


    • belfastdavid Says:

      I would not have wished for it to have caused you tears Shirley.

      I hope you are soon physically better.



  10. Well done, David. This hits home on so many levels. Many lines are from conversations that I’ve had with my wife. A 10 year age difference makes more of a difference than one would suppose.

    I miss the telephone that I could take off the hook to further enhance my incommunicado lifestyle.

    “My statement regarding my life style
    carries no criticism of yours
    but you seem to think it does.”

    Try being a vegetarian, as well. πŸ™‚ It’s like challenging someone to an arm wrestling contest if that info gets into the conversation.

    Thanks for the validation of my “old time” ways.

    • belfastdavid Says:


      Always good Pat to have a kindred spirit drop in. A lot of this poem came from various conversations I have had over the past few weeks.

      And I do leave my telephone off the hook so to speak, in that I am quite prepared to let the answering service take the call even if I am at home – then I can decide whether I want to respond or not, and my mobile is off more often than it is on.

      I am smiling too at the thought of dropping “vegetarian” into the conversation. “I don’t drink” can do it as well πŸ™‚

      Let us both enjoy our “old time” ways – I suspect we do!!

      My best to you


  11. Susan Bosler Says:


    I get it – maybe too much. While I like some of the technology around, I agree with you on so many points. You’re right even in the 80’s and 90’s personal interaction was so much different – so much better. I wonder how kids growing up these days will even get it. But then, I see that they know to put the technology aside, sometimes even better than their parents do. I think it will all work out in the end. Lesson, be true to yourself, and I think you know that already.

    Excellent poem. Highly intimate and truthful. A snap, a clap and a big smile!!! :):)


    • belfastdavid Says:


      A snap, a clap and a big smile” are always very welcome πŸ™‚

      Sometimes I think I am turning into an old fogey and I do suspect you are right – “it will all work out in the end”

      But I would still rather be walking on the strand with a good friend with all the technology turned off πŸ™‚

      Thank you


  12. seeker of truth Says:

    I agree with much of what you had to say here… I miss, just being with those I love!! brilliant David!!!

  13. I love this David. So much has happened in the last 20 years or so and far too quickly; it sometimes feels as though everything is hurtling out of control.

    When you read this to me for the first time I didnt fully appreciate the fabulous contrast between the bulk of the poem and the last verse.
    Its so beautiful it permeated through to the core of me.

    Lots of love



    • belfastdavid Says:


      The last verse is what the poem is all about really Christine. The rest is just life getting in the way. πŸ™‚

      Lots of love


  14. wow …. sort of a twist for that close. really good point, about one’s decisions not being a criticism for others choices. i wonder what it is that makes us feel the need to so thoroughly conform, to have to agree or then we can’t be friends? when it’s the differences that make the whole damn thing worthwhile.

    much enjoyed, David. thank you

    • belfastdavid Says:

      I suspect Eileen that the point you make is the subject of a blog all on its own.

      I am always delighted when I provoke you to thought.


  15. Peter Doyle Says:

    Ahhhhhhhh! : )

  16. peta straatman Says:

    Hi David

    … “My statement regarding my lifestyle carries no criticism of yours, but you seem to think it does” is the nugget I will take from this poem. I love the conversational style.

    In my experience “I am a vegetarian” is definately up there with “no thanks, I don’t drink”.


    • belfastdavid Says:

      Hi Peta,

      Conversational style was something I was trying for in this poem so I am delighted you liked it.

      When I first came to this country I moved to near Liverpool. When asked what football team I supported I always said Glentoran – partly because it was true and partly because to say either Liverpool or Everton would have immediately placed me in a particular group.

      Take care

  17. peta straatman Says:

    By publicly owning up to Glentoran (whoever she is) I don’t think you put yourself at risk of getting a rare beef steak or a double brandy (alright, probably not the best example to get sympathy!).

    Sometimes, out of sheer badness I drop into an NHS conversation that I read the Daily Mail.

    “My decisions are not criticisms of your choices and your decisions are not criticisms of my choices”. Another card to stick up on the mirror.


    • belfastdavid Says:

      I never thought of my football team as a “She” but I suppose in terms of a relationship that is not a bad analogy. πŸ™‚

      And that is a very useful saying to have on your mirror.

      Take care


  18. wonderful david,, i think its great to travel at your own speed, keep knowlegble but do it your way,, and ya i too enjoy a real book, not electronic,, to touch a book and flip back or smell the ink on the pages,, its a writte’s thing i think,, but i do so enjoy it.. love and hugs awsome poem

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Thank you Heidi,

      I think I just worry that we are turning into an instant gratification society. Sometimes we do need just to slow down – a good book helps me do that.

      Love and hugs

  19. Lovely – particularly the last verse – so beautiful…

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Thank you Ali,

      As I said to someone else, I think the last verse is what the poem is really all about – the rest is just life getting in the way


  20. Hi David, this really is a day for reading and it strikes me as funny that this poem, of all, actually is an online one, (as books I prefer those paper editions too, My publisher does them in that form now also. I tried to read, but no, not for me.) I hope this poem here was also published in a paper edition!

    It is funny, so in a way the modern technology also slipped in your life πŸ™‚ You moved along like all of us. And now you also have tv! πŸ˜›

    I got a chuckle from your Delicious Doris πŸ™‚ It is odd people really think one would take the bait? I get marrige proposals in my Poemhunter inbox lol! What would happen if I said yes?? (Could make nice funny story!)

    Pubs open all day – you don’t take it personally, πŸ™‚ love that part. It sure does look like life is tempting you to get back in those facilities.

    Nostalgia. To think that one day this period of our lives will be seen as the good old days … We better make that true!

    Thank you for making this cold Summer’s day one with silver lining πŸ™‚

    Big hug and with love.

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Thank you Ina,

      I am delighted you got so much from the poem πŸ™‚

      It is strange how technology changes our lives without us really being aware it is happening – When my computer died I was in a state of anxiety until I was back on line again!!! πŸ™‚

      Although I don’t ever see me reading books other than in print format. In fact if I really want to appreciate a poem I print it out and then read it again at my leisure πŸ™‚
      It is however good that your publisher has gone that way – there is an increasing market for e-books and I do know my son makes great use of his Kindle – the younger generation do things differently I guess!!

      I have no objection to pubs – a lot of poetry events take place in pubs so I often in them. In fact I feel really at home in old-fashioned pubs – but I have no inclination to drink!!!
      Nor do I have any inclination to take up with Delicious Doris!!! πŸ™‚

      I am deligted to have provided a silver lining to your day πŸ™‚
      Big Hug to you too

      • Hi David,

        Read some more of your poems and liking them πŸ™‚

        Pubs are great πŸ™‚ I remember the one in Whitby with the pink ladies room very well, forgot the name though. It had green sofa’s. (if that is the word πŸ™‚ ) I can imagine writing in a pub is a good alternative for working from home πŸ™‚

        Not drinking in pub should be no problem, I do know cafΓ©’s though were people hate it if you don’t drink alcohol!

        My husband has a e-reader (like a Kindle) and he is 10 years older than me lol, so maybe it is not just for the young. I am not good with electronic devices, and I like to make notes in my books (big sin, I know πŸ™‚ )

        And if a table is wobly, would you put a Kindle under its feet?

        Big hug,

      • belfastdavid Says:

        Hi Ina,

        I noticed you were liking some of my poems – Thank you πŸ™‚

        Old fashioned pubs used to do that – have sofas (it is the right word) that is. I could well imagine writing in pubs of that sort – although if I went in often enough I guess the temptation to drink would get very strong. There are some nice local cafes though – particularly one in the Art Gallery – which would be conducive to writing. I will ponder on that. And also a local park – I could take a flask of coffee and my writing pad πŸ™‚

        I could not bring myself to write in books (shame on you!) but I often write on Post-it notes and stick them in the books – particularly poetry books. πŸ™‚

        I could maybe persuade myself to buy a Kindle if more poetry books were available – it would be so convenient to take if I was travelling – we shall see πŸ™‚

        Big Hug to you too

  21. David, Chester walls over shopping malls? I would have you as my tour guide any day!
    I have a terminal allergy to malls! πŸ™‚

    Lea x

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