Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Good Ol' Days

Those were the days my Friend!!!

"Aye!" says the old man hunched
Crippled with arthritis. Old leather slippers
Allowing a wrinkled big toe a sight
Of the flickering, temperemental coal fire
Through a hole wrought by years of use.
"Aye!", he says again, "they woz grand but 'ard
You young 'uns y'don't know yer born!"

It was like travelling back in time
My jeans and sweatshirt felt as though
They belonged to some future era more akin to Star Trek.
It should be brown baggy pants tied with string,
Or perhaps braces holding up and showing
Beneath the ragged, patched tweed jacket.
And, of course on my crown, the flat cap
Without which I could not take my rightful place.

"Y'know son, when ah was your age
Ah'd been workin' down in put for years.
Aye! me, our kid and the auld man
Doon their in Shotton Colliery. It were bad.
Made us men though, aye, it'll so you some good
Working in all that clart, wet n'dark.
No place for sissy's that."

"Ah remember me mam, God rest her soul.
Cryin' buckets she was. "Y'Dads gone t'war."
Nivver really understood, too young. "Fightin for King George,
And England." Died in glory they told us.
Ah was right proud, someat t'boast to me mates.
Better that way though, poor, Kack doon the street blind
And Johnny in number ten, gone mad they said.
I nivver did see me mam smile again.
No, not after that."

"Mind you, laddie, I did me bit for blighty!
Forty-one it was when ah was called up.
'Ad a missus n' two kids be then.
Sent me to desert under Monty, great bloke,
The lads worshiped 'im, he were a genius.
Went all the t'Alamein wi 'im. Stuffed the Krauts!!
Copped it in the leg. 'Ad to be sent 'ome.
Pity really, 'ah was just beginnin' to enjoy meself!"

"It wern't all fightin' n' work though.
Used t'love Saturday afternoon at Roker or St. James'.
Fifties were best, ganin' up to Newcastle wi' grandbairns
Stannin' in warm or cold watchin' Jackie,
Milburn that is, destroyin' Spurs or the Arsenal.
The other United, Manchester, were a canny side n'all.
It were a great day in 'Pools when the Busby Babes came.
Got beat, like, but we was proud of the lads.
Ken Johnson got a goal. He own that chippy now."

Yes! I did know, that link with today
Bringing me back to reality. Passing thro' eighty years
And, looking back, despite modern technology,
We're no better off. Just as much poverty and
On the brink of war as fifty years ago.
Jeans and sweatshity, modern trends bit no better off.
Aye, Ah'll think Ah'll get patty n'chips from Kennys.
He played again Man United and score, y'know!!

9th November 1990 - Hartlepool, England.


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