WE HAD THE BEST OF IT
We had the best of it, he says, raising his glass,
As if in some salute to the past.
We meet on occasion, as old school friends do,
Remembering when we used to drink under-age.
Well past that stage now, our sense of
Boyhood bonhomie still tangible.
Our conversation is like leafing through a book
With chapters missing. How else to explain
What became of all that distance in between?
The years when his blonde hair turned white,
My Afro, salt and pepper grey.
On those shifting sands of time,
Lines were drawn. Days when our fathers
Told us constantly, you don’t know you’re born.
Do you recall? He asks, and I do,
Though through the prism of a different lens.
One that time has bent out of shape,
A form of escape, from those
Days of the blackboard jungle. And I wonder,
Were we ever on the same page?
Sitting in regimented rows to be taught by those
With lives left raw by war we’d never known,
While we hungered for change. Unaware
Their deranged landscape was always present,
But never spoken of.
What shall we write? we’d ask.
Were they recalling letters from the front,
By those who didn’t make it home; that
Served as lessons for others to learn?
‘Paper never refused ink’, they’d groan!