It is not the cruelty of children that angers me
But that my hesitation to commit the word to air,
And, aye, maybe, to the ear, the heart, was treated as an affliction
By those with the polished shoes and starched aprons which set them apart;
Sometimes I was not even there when they mocked me but I knew
What they did and ‘never-a-bother-it-was-to-me’.
But it was. I was brought up to be brave but inside I was bruised and battered.
Young only young.
I tried to pity my accusers: so narrow of soul, so clipped of speech, so incapable of reach.
I had my brother Pete, now so-long dead, and my sisters two,
Us council estate kids, we mocked the rich kids
Knowing how little they knew. If an aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick,
This son-of-an-orphan remembers it.
Granddad Jack who’d been a machine gunner
On the Somme in 1916
He didn’t say much: smoked Woodbines, didn’t read books,
But denied every pitying look, every cutting word, every condescending bending of the neck
The centuries of insincerity that have delineated class relations
In this fucked-up country: John Clare, William Blake and Charlie Dickens
I write it out in a verse
Differently-abled stutterers, terse.
We poets arise from the dirt
From the same class that I feel an unending commitment to
The dispossessed, the prisoners, all the spice-island-rough-traders:
This vast, inglorious shipwreck of life’s esteems.

◄ White Teeth

Halloween ►


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Stephen Gospage

Sun 24th Oct 2021 18:36

A powerful poem, John, and written from the heart.

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John Marks

Sun 24th Oct 2021 17:42

Thanks Adam, Holden, Stephen A and Stephen G. 'Reeks' Leon. Really?

"Stuttering in children is not something that parents can cause. Certain children are more likely to stutter based on pre-set factors such as genetics and brain function. Certain external factors, such as a busy lifestyle or negative reactions to their stuttering can make the stuttering worse if they are already prone to it, but they were not the cause of the stuttering."

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Leon Kamm

Sun 24th Oct 2021 09:35

This piece reeks of resentment and attempts to associate lack of privilege with a speech affliction. Stuttering tends to happen early in a child's life, before they mix with others in primary school, and is often caused by their relationship with their father.

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