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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.