They’re Pulling It Down

John Gorman (1906 – 1984) forsees gentrification in this poem from his postumous 1986 Plaistow Poets Press collection, Lively As A Linnet.
He was a popular member of the Plaistow Poets who had fought in the war as a soldier, he worked as a builder and was a lifelong trade unionist. He lived in Stratford. He wouldn’t recognise much of east London now.

They’re Pulling It Down

They’re pulling it down now they’re pulling it down
the dear old homestead the place where I was born
they’re tearing it asunder it’s battered and it’s torn
they’re pulling it down now they’re pulling it down
the funny little attic the twisty wooden stairs
the room I used to sleep in and offer up my prayers

they’re pulling it down now they’re pulling it down
I wonder if they ever stop and give a thought to those
who lived and loved and laughed there and found such sweet repose
or could it be to them … it’s just another crummy drum
a blot upon the landscape an eyesore a slum

they’re pulling it down now they want the plot
to build a multi-storey they call a tower block
all glass and ferrous concrete so spick-and-span and high
with lifts to take us up and down until the day we die
no cats no dogs no gardens whatever be our bent
just radio and telly and lots and lots of rent
it seems to please the landlords they’re such a jolly lot
we’ve lost our little homestead … they’ve gained a tower block

they’re pushing us around now
they’re pushing us around

John Gorman

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