I was born in nineteen forty four
When black and white films were the norm
And the black and white bloody world war
Was in the last bloody phase of its storm.
But what does a babe know of such things?
A mother's breast is all that it cares.
Her steady gaze to bask in,
Her voice to soothe its tears.
As child I saw the bomb torn sites,
War blight occupying city streets.
Their berubbled mess was the norm.
Already begreened, beflowered before my beginning.
My father had been killed, my mother said,
By a left over mine at sea.
I wondered, What was a father?
And whether we were having jam for tea.
Oh the battered, scattered continent
Painfully climbing out of its wreck.
Great Victoria's Empire spent and overspent
Plodded to its end but did not bow its neck.
But what would a boy know of it?
From the high trees his dominion below
So pleased him. Hedgerow and fields heaven's carpet
At night the bright starry sky heaven's show.
As a schoolboy I bent and picked potatoes
And learned what money was worth.
I marveled that in the earth food grows
And that all life and living gives birth.
From such beginnings comes all my seeing.
The starting blocks of this unfinished man.
I thank You Lord God for my being,
For all this life’s uncomfortable span.