Life Is Elsewhere
Even the sound of a goods train
passing in the night,
rattling the rotten frame
of my childhood window;
even that spoke to me then
of a life I was missing.
Later, the dead eyes of a stranger
on the bus home from school,
unshaven and shabby in creased overcoat,
a worn paperback in his pocket;
he lived the life I both feared and desired.
Or the men who stood on the
doorsteps of pubs, or bookmakers,
cigarettes hidden in hands with stained fingers;
these were the ones I yearned to be counted among –
not the good, the polite and the young.
But I was bound by the kindness of others,
obliged to be who I was
out of duty and love;
I had to create out of nothing
false reasons to fight
where no fight was sought,
to reject all that was given for free
in a house where I knew only love.