Over on Twitter the other day, Matthew Stewart tweeted a picture of a poem concerning his childhood phone number, from his excellent collection The Knives of Villalejo, and wondered what numbers other folk remembered. When he tweeted the same question previously, it somehow sparked off the following poem of mine – not about our family phone number when I was a child, but the registration number of my dad’s car.
After perusing all the latest features on cars in Which?,
my father part-exchanged his grey Austin Cambridge,
at Lancaster’s showrooms on the crest of Surbiton Hill,
for a shimmery, maroon Austin Maxi, whose original
virtue, winked the salesman, was how the seats folded
virtually flat, to fashion an ad hoc four-foot-wide bed—
an eyebrow-raising choice, perhaps, for a family man,
who didn’t appear the chap to drive a passion wagon.