Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Another bite of chocolate...

I brought a couple of chocolates with me from the grotto, and after my visit to the Island of the Ancestors, I bit into another one. The dark, bittersweet taste took me back to my childhood...When I first came to England (I was born in Ireland and lived there for the first seven years of my life) I lived in Brixton. It was a shock after the green days of my childhood, but I soon learned that to survive, you had to join the child tribe.


We run, we run like monkeys through the narrow streets,
We swarm up the walls and over the factory roof,
Skinny legs swinging, dirty socks drooping,
Bony knees scraping on the slippery tiles.
We are the child tribe, we have no master,
Bonded together beyond the adult world,
Slithering and slipping, scrambling and scrabbling,
Through the broken window in a tumbling cascade.
Long ago the whistle blew, the men hurried home,
Leaving the litter of their labouring day,
Scattered on the benches, cluttering the floor,
Treasures for the finding for the roving child tribe.
Five days a week and half a day on Saturday,
They labour here with chisels, saws and smooth sliding planes,
Building the coffins, shaping the lids,
Stacking them in rows along the factory wall.
Now we play Dracula, now we play Frankenstein,
Staggering about with our grimy hands outstretched,
Now we play carpenter, planing the roughened bench,
Now we play undertaker, following the bier.
When we tire of the coffins, it’s out of the window,
Scrabbling over the roof to the next factory floor.
We are the child tribe, we know all the entry ways,
The broken panes and skylights where we can slip through;
We are the child tribe, well beyond the adult eye,
We run through their world without humility or fear.


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