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When we were younger

Our feet danced

To the beat of the factories

On every street,

Metal bins rattled

Voices roared

As our rain-heavy leather ball

Slapped on the wall,

And we watched our dads

As hooters blew

Stride from the heat to the corner pub

And the pull of beer,

It was always enough

To halt our game

And wonder at the marvel of what

Lay ahead for us,

As the words of our mothers

Rang in our ears

And we knew that all too soon our games

Would be lost for good,

And that the storm ahead

Was rising still

Our adult lives being forged in the mill

Despite our cries,

Sweets and penny chews

On happy days

We dipped our toes like liquorice sticks

In life’s tart sherbet,

But not for us, not yet

The working hours

Our endless time still filled with joys that

Poverty couldn’t kill,

As on the kitchen table

Our mothers served their fare

The food that always smelled so good yet

Always was the same,

And mornings came so very late

With our fathers gone

And days of school – what did we learn

But how to play the game?

And did we ever really know

What lay beyond

The streets down which we lived our days

And voices never heard?