As soon as they cast eyes upon
Our muddy shoes and soaking socks,
The other kids and parents knew
That we were from the unmade roads.
Of the school’s catchment area,
The fraction we made up was small.
Reputed brutish, we compared
Badly to the pounded pavements.
In truth, I think that they envied
Our potholes and rough traditions:
Card schools, brisk trades in rabbits,
Flashy wives weighing up talent,
The treacherous tales of cesspits,
Motors changing hands for a wad,
Boiled cabbage on Sunday mornings,
Low-lit capers in garden sheds.
It happened almost overnight;
We woke to tarmac all around.
It’s strange when progress seems a threat;
There should have been celebration.
Some were sad; others protested.
To no avail. Under hot sun
Our futures were baked before us.
Only our dreams were left unmade.