British poet Freda Downie died in 1993, and her Collected Poems were published two years later in 1995. Written in the last year of her life, this memoir is a sharp distillation of her melancholic sensibility. She recalls the high and low points of a poor, often disrupted English childhood, evoking people and places with the acute sensitivity of an isolated child and adolescent. She was an only child, and spent her early years living in a temporary wooden house on the outskirts of London, from where she roamed the lanes and woods of the nearby Kent countryside, or was taken out by her parents in her father's motorbike. The family evacuated in 1939, but later returned to London in time for the Battle of Britain and the Blitz. The family made a hazardous sea voyage around the Cape in the early 40s to her father's work in Australia and returned in 1944 to a London under the threat from the V1 and V2 bombs. Downie's memoir tells of a single figure moving through the world, between yearning and disappointment, between fear and the desire for oblivion, listening and watching everything intently with a poet's witty, even humorous attention.