The End of the Red Telephone Booth!

Crimson edifice, monument to a long-gone past;
Cast-iron anomaly that guards the village store.
What use have you today, whose last
call made was by someone trying to find a w h o r e;
a number picked at random from the posted cards?
The secrets that once it was your job to guard
are whispered now into a tiny mobile phone,
or sent by text, for the recipients’ eyes alone.

Do you still provide a place to call for taxi-hire;
the laggards rescue from the late-night long walk home?
Emergency requests for ambulance, police or fire,
or reporting out-of-order residential phones?
Perhaps you shelter still the teenage lovers’ kiss;
too self-wrapped-up to note the reek of drunkards’ p i s s
in puddled corners. And do runaways still strive to cheat the coinbox, telling parents that they are alive?

Although on town and country streets I see
now only clean-cut BT kiosks made of steel and glass,
the old red phone box still provides a memory
of times gone by; a once great British past.
And still in hidden corners or forgotten lanes
I find your crimson frame and tiny panes
recall own my misspent and happy youth. Oh yes, it’s true…
my teenage secret life was guarded well by you.

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