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.

◄ Sons and Lovers

Cynics ►


Profile image

Stephen Gospage

Sun 4th Apr 2021 16:37

Thank you, Ferris. I appreciate your thoughts on the poem and your kind words. "Reputed Brutish", yes. There was definitely an "us and them" frontier between the made and unmade roads, even if it was in reality just a product of the local council's limited capacity for putting down tarmac.

I feel your pain, John. Until we moved a couple of years ago, we had a septic tank. Every time it was emptied I feared that Godzilla would jump out. I guess your childhood streets were tougher than mine. Our road was a mudbath and there was a tramp living in a shack a couple of doors down, but some of the houses were quite nice. One place further up the road (owned by a London docker) was detached and really quite roomy. Plus ca change......

Profile image

John Coopey

Sat 3rd Apr 2021 23:47

Steady on, Stephen! We've still got a cess pit. (Actually a septic tank).
I can relate to this. I was brought up as one of the scuzzie kids on a slum nicknamed "Little Moscow" and where the local councillor was, appropriately enough, a Communist. They pulled it down when I was seven and we moved to the new council estate slum.

Profile image

Ferris Ty Taylor

Sat 3rd Apr 2021 23:17

"From unmade roads," to me, connotates the plight of travellers, or the homeless. I thought this was a beautiful and vulnerable testimony to resilliance.
"Reputed brutish," I know that one. An ideal boxer is hungry.

Profile image

Ferris Ty Taylor

Sat 3rd Apr 2021 23:12

This is wonderful

Profile image

Stephen Gospage

Sat 3rd Apr 2021 17:25

Thank you to Rose, Philipos and Adam for your very kind comments and to everyone for the likes. I am so glad that you all enjoyed this poem, which is partly autobiographical, although highly embellished. 'Something else', as you say, Rose.

I did once live on an unmade road, we did have a cesspit and my Mum boiled cabbage on a Sunday morning, but as for the rest, they are lurking on a collective memory which may or may not include mine. Fun to write, though. Thanks once again to all the readers and Happy Easter.

Profile image

Adam Whitworth

Fri 2nd Apr 2021 22:22

Great Poem!

Profile image


Fri 2nd Apr 2021 20:14

Great nostalgic piece excellently presented. 👍

Rose Casserley

Fri 2nd Apr 2021 18:50

Stephen, I just adore these 'something else' type of poems

which in my opinion
this one is just that

excellent! excellent!

If you wish to post a comment you must login.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more Hide this message