From the bench on the street corner one legged Jack sits watching the scene
pennants and bunting draped ready for celebrations the throning of a queen.
Jailed for killing a sheep to feed half-starved kids in the far away depression days
Jack remembered the struggle to survive and the children dying in those ways.
On the tree lined flowering street the white haired boy tried and failed always
when the showering confetti of petals eventually made it their time to fall too.
Red white and pink spring colours in a time of khaki, navy blue, and greys
the white haired boy walked kicking along the stony road a blue tin zinc ball
Battered and dented dull on each of its three sides from so many tries
to make it fly it was in those days with long hours they called peace.
Thundering and lightning crackled without warning in clear blue skies
the silenced old gods and wise men left only indentations, remembrances
Of psalms and words in the places they’d once stood in so many guises.
In the tall aspen trees above the school yard Jackdaws turned into blackness
No longer offering advice to the boy standing in silence on a stone edged street.
He wandered listening to hammering hard voices in those endless days of friction.
It was a time of remembrances of yearning for memories, idylls and those years
before the great fracturing, when men stared too long into the crematoria’s fire.
Of the man-made hell when God looked away from supplications, turned deaf ears
to the prayers of beseechment from the lost, the implorations for intervention
For salvation. And only silence reigned. The old Kings head stared one eyed
on silver sixpences and farthings but he was dead and the Christmas tree lights
Fixed to the windows and doorways ready for the street party rationing allowed.
And all those old songs knees up mother brown, oh knees up mother brown,
They pushed the damper in and they pulled the damper out and the smoke went up
She’ll be coming round the mountain will be sung again and sung again and echoing.
It was a time of remembering past times, it was a time for forgetting times too,
there was hope for the future, for a better life so many had fought and died for.
But spin the gaudy worn tin carousel sixty four years or more forward and see
a future of food banks feeding working poor kids in the mean high streets of ghost towns
Where charity shops fill every other door and the worn out junkies haunt the parade
and we turn our backs too as so many lives are stolen away before our very eyes.
So our class celebrates the crowning of a queen and our impoverishment
relinquishing without understanding what life and poverty was like in those days.
My names Jack. What’s yours?