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.