For Liberation day 2015. 70 years on.
I have a homing instinct for the stars
Whenever I split logs, my boyhood years
Come rushing back, spring tide in fullest flood.
The acid smells of chestnut, birch and oak
Rebuild the wood stores at our end of town
And recreate the tar and sawdust fuel,
The heatless swirls of grey-green blinding smoke,
Incense to gods of darkness and of war.
At night we strove to see and wept to read
And when the morning came, we smelt of smoke.
Our books were our escape! Dumaresq Street
Was Ali Baba’s cave as, once each week,
We climbed the spiral staircase after school
In search of tales from Russia, India,
From Persia and the Golden Orient;
Row upon row of heavy leather books,
So many magic carpets for our flight
From shores of hunger and of hopelessness.
But life was more than reading. Summer days
Stretched endlessly with double summertime,
Each waking hour well filled with jobs to…
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