Wednesday, 16 October 2013

A Visitor from Planet Expat

Julia arrived yesterday, and Jackie joined us for supper.  (Cottage pie, cauliflower cheese, and carrots, followed by ice-cream with a chocolate flake).  A good evening.

Julia bought us a beautiful book about the painter Eric Ravilious. I am looking forward to showing it to Bea, who is also a fan. Though its possible she has already got it.

Julia was also reading through my published poems (not all that many), and especially liked this one, so I thought I would put it in the blog.

It appears in "Ours", and in "Old Playgrounds", two anthologies published by Fantastic Books Publishing.

by me

Grown-ups had made us
Bomb sites to play on
Wasn't that grand?
They'd sown the sea
With fireworks
To explode on the sand
Us kids played at war
But who were the Baddies?
Now no-one was sure.

Was it the Germans?
The big boys said "No"
Baddies were Russian
But how did they know?

Don't call people enemies!
Daddy said it with passion
We didn't go shopping
We went for our rations
Clinic juice was orange
Treacly and free
We journeyed into space
On the wireless
There was no TV

Daddy went to work
Six days of seven
To Silverdale, Jordanthorpe
Planning new Eden
We always found mummy
At home, in the kitchen
Then farewell Coles Corner
Au Revoir, Trams
Goodbye bomb site, hello building site
The brave new world began

Grown-ups soon made us
Landmines to play on
Sunk into sand
Finely adjusted for leg or small hand
Us kids played at war
But who were the Baddies?
Now no-one was sure.

In many ways, the Fifties was a good time to be a child, if you had good parents. There was still a certainty and a cohesion about society - though it was a harsh one  in many ways - and a real feeling of a brave new world coming.  It didn't come. But it couldn't, as "it does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step".

Isn't this why we say the Lord's Prayer? We want a government that really can bring about peace on earth.

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