Bygone

I come from a chalk-white,

sun-streaked street where skinny children

stick-rattle and hopscotch away

careless summer days.

 

I come from the domain

of bus drivers and bricklayers,

where ferret-keeping, earth-salty sorts

artfully tend their vegetables

and their kneeling house wives

with scrubbing brush and Vim

nag at the linoleum within.

 

I come from a bygone place

where dusty men

returning from a day’s work

cough out pennies

for black-jacks for the kids,

where Brylcremed youths

idly drag on their Woodbines

in nicotine-fingered anticipation

of National Service, where,

interned in Aldershot camp,

they will learn how to peel potatoes

and know boredom

from the inside.

 

We studied Imelda Maguire’s poem “Origins” in a writers’ workshop recently. So this note records my grateful thanks to her for the inspiration –  and if there is imitation, my apologies.

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