A combination of sand from the Sahara and bellowing Industrial fumes from the east, combined with car exhaust emissions, has led to two days of fog reminiscent of the smogs that plagued London in the 50’s and which became a pervasive memory for my relatives who lived there.
She talked often about the fog
The ‘Pea Souper’, ‘London Particular’,
That smothered all the city streets
With corrosive smog, a ghastly miasma.
How granddad had shuddered to his knees,
His lungs corrupted, wheezing his last breath,
How fourteen tons of Flouride destroyed him;
Some said twelve thousand were killed that week.
She claimed it slipped through keyholes
Leaving residues, foul sulphurous smears,
‘Look’, she said, ‘it even stained his photograph,
Handing him to us, yellow and listless.
He was riddled with purulent bronchitis
Lingered until the 5th of December.
It made our skin crawl to look at him,
His angular face, jaundiced with disease.
She talked often about the Fog,
And how she had lived through two world wars
The strange old lodger who lived next door,
Who strangled cats, or so she claimed.
I imagined the bellowing chimneys
Of Battersea, Bankside and Kingston,
Six million chimneys belching out their load
And tried to imagine, growing old.