Breaking Chains

Breaking Chains

Growing up, the corner shop
Was like an Aladdin’s cave.
Exciting exotic riches
To be had for pocket change.

Each shop had unique delights:
A quarter of some sweet treat
Or the latest comic book.
You knew where to find it all.

Every town had character:
Independent retailers,
Established eighteen-something,
Or at least before the war.

The cafe on the high street
Where my grandmother drank tea,
The bookshop I frequented:
Many happy hours for me.

Most of those shops are gone now,
Replaced by the soulless clones
That have spread just like a plague:
Uniformity rules now.

I often think I could stand
In any town without knowing
Where I might be in the land:
Everywhere now looks the same.

Mall culture dominating
With the old guard dead, passed on.
Reflecting in nostalgia,
I regret the march of time.

In Camberley or Wigan
The global brands have stolen
The identity that once
Made each town special to me.