There never were…
hayfields, in my childhood’s
fondly cherished memories.
No rural idylls nurtured our youngest years.
Between us and the open fields, barbed wire
swung idly in the breeze across gaps
torn in tired hedges. By such
means they tried keeping us outside.
Beyond, fields were freshly ploughed,
ready for planting rows of public housing.
When I was younger still,
memories, carefully cherished since,
were formed of grey slag heaps.
Waste material brought up from mines,
heaped high like dark hay ricks
where great wheels turned,
raising cages from the deep.
Across the valley beyond lay shadows
of distant steel mills’ hazy outlines
in setting summer suns.
As children we had our space,
ruins carved out by bombs that fell
from planes in terrible days long before.
Ruined houses gave us cellars to hide in,
broken stairs reached skywards,
begging little feet to climb ever higher,
always seeking new thrills.
Crumbling concrete pathways
were our hedgerows.
Mind you, busy
bumble bees buzzed
for us too,
butterflies blundered by,
while weeds flourished,
brightening old rubble,
scenting summer evenings
where we played.
22 thoughts on “There never were…”
Beautiful. I miss childhood, out in the summer, free and you made your own fun.
Dia duit Kevin. Mile buiochas, for this soulful entry. I hope you will read it, for us, when time permits. Warm Wishes! ~Beannaichte’! Alicia
wow…playing int eh ruins carved out by bombs…thats a bit of perspective….we had barb wire fields….did not keep me out either…though i have a rather nasty scar from it as well…smiles….
Kevin, this touched me deeply. You created such a sense of place. I picture Wales, or Britain, post WWII but your names speaks of Ireland. I’m off to read your About…ah, I think perhaps someone commented in Gaelic. Just a beautiful, poignant write of childhood.
Hi Victoria, I tried replying earlier but alas it didn’t work so here I am again. I live now and for many years in Ireland and was born here. However my father was a Scotsman so I spent a very happy few years in childhood in Scotland just outside Glasgow. The journeying between the two countries is something I recalled in a poem on the blog called “beyond Ailsa Craig”. You were so insightful then in identifying post war Britain as being a setting in this poem. Thanks for your reading and your encouraging comments Kevin
Thank you, Kevin. I hope to see lots more of you…I’ll be on the watch. (BTW I was a war baby, as they say)
Wow this was really powerful and your words made me feel and see so much ! Amazing.
Powerful…I suppose, at the very least, you’ve a rich trove to draw upon in your poetry. ~peace, Jason
the adventures of our youth recalled may be shadowed by mature points of view, but none the less, were they not grand?
This is an amazing poem. I would have guessed Britain as well….from the subject matter and the description of places. Such a sad time for all. May it never happen again. Your poem is poignant and clear, gives a picture of the times. I was born right AFTER the war…but appreciate reading about what it was like during or right after by those who were close.
Thank you for your comment in my blog about my poem “Unplugged.” I understand praying for either a cure or a quick passing. I was in that position with someone as well. Hospice here is sort of the ‘unplugging.’ No more heroic measures.Sometimes that is the best choice. Sigh. It must have been hard for you. Death, however it comes, IS hard indeed.
This gives such a sense.. and yes it does fit the prompt… lots of good adjectives that gives taste to the poem.. I feel I’m there.. maybe adjectives gives a better sense when used in the past tense..hmm something to ponder.
that took me back a bit into my own childhood – we used to play on the highway that was under construction back then… what an adventurous playground – ha
It is interesting how we all have such different childhood memories, and sometimes we wish we had the memories of others, the “hay fields” that we missed out on. The flow of this poem added to a dreamy summer feel, a summer of childhood innocence that transcends location and surroundings. Peace, Linda
If only all of use can share our childhood memories
of dark and light this way.. perhaps we will tolerate
and accept each other a little
more.. understanding how
much different our views
of reality are..
and for me
to teach this
lesson and among
others i thank you for that..:)
Born in 1944 in America, I missed out on the bomb craters, & lost land mines, & cellars turned into clubhouses–instead, at five, I watched Seattle beginning its growing pains, listening to my parents/grandparents talking about the war years, the Japanese internment camps out on the San Juan islands, the freighters & war ships that moored 12 deep at every dock. Though my name is German, my ancestry is Wales & Scotland.
These lines made me recall those past glorious days when all we did was run and hide away in all those old houses and alleyways ~ Beautiful cadence, a pleasure to read tonight ~
Reading this again and loving it even more. I grew up in a rural area (in Los Angeles, if you can imagine) and enjoyed the same sort of childhood. A decade ago I returned with my 80-something year old mother and it was all we could do to find our house, and when we did, we wish we hadn’t. Made me sad.
This poem brought to mind WWII. I recall seeing photos and films of England during and after WII – people picking their way amongthe ruins, children playing in them – at least the ones not sent to the country or other countries while this was occurring. You had no hayfields, but adapted the way children seem to do. And I love the ending with bumble bees and butterflies also made their way amongst the rubble. Regardless, beauty finds a way.
I am very comfortable with your adjectives and adverbs – it’s all very well sticking to the prompt to be a bit outrageous, but the poem comes first IMHO!
I too played in bomb-sites as a child, indelibly engraved in my memory.
Poignant write…not over or under stated but reveals fresh dreams of new generation springing from horrific nightmares of the previous.