Monday, 3 November 2014
New Poem: The Same (1950s)
When I was at school, we were all the same.
Except - we weren’t. I mean there were kids
whose parents came from Ireland but they
kept their heads down and pretended that
they hadn’t come from a place like Ireland.
There were kids whose parents came from
Scotland and Wales. That was more OK.
Sometimes a kid came in from America or
Germany or Poland. You could pick them out
from the colour of their shoes. And then there
were the Chinese sisters. And the Jews. Were we
the same? Same as what? We weren’t even
the same as each other. One of us had parents
who came over from Germany. Others it was
mostly grandparents or great-grandparents
from Poland and Russia. For some of the Jews,
the big thing was jazz and blues: Charlie Parker,
Miles Davis. Some it was Ban the Bomb. Some it
was Toulouse-Lautrec and Van Gogh. Some it was
not eating bacon. There was a day when some
people in the USA said that it was going to the
End of the World. So some of us said that we
would hold a ceremony on the school field to
bring in the End of the World. We turned our
jackets inside out and wore them that way. Soon
the field was full of hundreds of us. Looked like
most of the school was there. The head and
deputy heads rushed out and said that it
had to stop. I think they thought that there was
going to be a revolution.