A trolley bus clatters on sparking wires,
the bowling alley echoes through thick smog,
cathedral with no roof but bell and spire,
school dinners all year round, Noggin the Nog.
A concrete slab, a prefab, faceless, stale,
guts ripped out by bombs in nineteen-forty,
the park built over unexploded shell –
a city with no soul called Coventry.
Now Portsmouth, Island City, is my home
with high-rise blocks and cars and traffic jams;
weathered, scarred, her face not always pretty,
despite the council’s transformation plans.
But Pompey is a city full of charm
and I feel safe wrapped up in her coastline arms.
Liz Neal, November 2018.