I came across this poem the other day.
Don’t be scared: it isn’t pretentious and it doesn’t rhyme.
It’s by Michael Rosen who lives in Hackney, the same part of London where I spent five years of my life. He’s a born-and-bred Londoner and an excellent writer. I hope he won’t mind me reproducing it here so long as I tell you all you should buy the book. So go on, buy it then.
Malc’s shoes smelled of fish because they had been stuck together with fish glue. His father had brought them back from Czechoslovakia. They were, his father said, another example of how Communism was improving the lives of the Czechoslovakian people.
-See how resourceful they are, he said, using fish remains to make shoes. Nothing gets wasted.
At nights, when we lay in his bedroom – Malc in his bed, me on the floor in my sleeping bag – we would talk about girls we fancied; and in the dark I could smell Communist shoes.
I’m going to be in England for the next few days. Have no fear though: it’s just for a long weekend so I will be sharing my Czech-related thoughts once again very soon.