The Car Lady of Prebend Gardens
Add to My Calendar

Anne Naysmith d. 9 February 2015

A tale to tell along the track
The corner of a byroad
A box in the paper edged in black
For the dame of Chiswick High Road

With operatic majesty
Her leading man and she
Played out romantic tragedy
In harmony, in key

But they broke up and she broke down
And never was repaired
Exchanged the stage and evening gown
And never knew who cared

When life’s libretto let her down
Her company let her go
Out of the cast, cast out of town
Dramatic high to low

Her major part as piano dame
Her future role as star
Sent to the back seat as she became
The soprano who slept in the car

Pictures of flowers, of sun and moon
Adorned the doors and bonnet
She washed and sang by her saloon
Her poems painted on it

For years her home was where she parked it
By the Tube on Prebend Gardens
But when the area went upmarket
The attitudes were hardened

The Council towed her car away
As estate agents compete
They offered her a place to stay
But her home was now the street

So when the Council’s carmen came
And towed her four-wheeled landmark
She pitched her life and she became
The woman who camped in the car park

She spoke Queen’s English but dressed in rags
Her voice, like her wings, was clipped
She carried her world in shopping bags
For life on the street equipped

Everyone knew her and nobody minded
An eccentric but still she belonged
She shared her voice when she could find it
And stirred the street with her song

She’d argue and shout with a person unseen
She’d talk to herself or a ghost
She planted a garden of flowers among green
And camped with her daffodil host

A life that sufficed, not a life lived in clover
A lady who lived with a gift
Until the day came when her life was knocked over
And she died in the road where she’d lived

A west London ballad of a fallen star
The soprano who slept, the dowager who died,
The lady who lived in the car.