Ought One

A tall corner building in my neighbourhood
Proudly proclaims ’01 to the world
that’s Nineteen Hundred and One, not Two Thousand and One.
A voice from my childhood says “Ought One”,
not “Nought”, you understand,
though “Nought” it’s understood to mean.

Who says “nought” these days, or even “ought”?
A voice from the North coontry says “nowt wrong wi that”
(that’s oop north in the old country).
Nobody in the lucky country
says “nought,” and even “ought” is falling by the way,
along with its sibling, “should”.

I love the confidence of Ought One,      corner sepia small
The confidence of starting a new century
with a new building.
Ought One stands tall on its corner,
The twentieth century    gone in flames and napalm,
crashed towers and dot coms and
Twenty-Oh-One
sounds like it’s trying too hard.