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Jul 2013
When I was a kid, round here
purple sweet peas carpeted common ground.
Thick, and ripe for picking
in their depths we found
all manner of detritus,
single shoes and old **** mags.
My friends and I went roaming
with our secrets and five ****.

Down on Slade Green marshes
fearless urban rangers,
ankle deep in water
never minding dangers.

Our private wilderness so bloomed
and we sank into its mire.
Running, jumping, singing, shouting
our youth ablaze, on fire.

Untouched as we believed it
that ground had seen its share,
of blood and fear and wanting,
we didn't know (or care).

Needles in emplacements
left by no one soldier brave.
****** was young back then,
at least, around our way.

In my peaceful ignorance
of 'paedos' underground,
I hid among the rusting hulks
waiting to be found.

Underneath the tower block,
the thirteenth floor my home,
a dragon in the ******* chute!
Imagination sown.

Each time that the fire brigade
came screaming to a halt,
to extinguish yet another mischief
for which none would be caught.

Our little speck of landing
Mrs Kingsley kept so clean,
a bizzy lizzy at her door
she visits me in dreams.

Skin shiny over knuckles
a worn-thin wedding band.
Her flowery dress, neatly pressed,
a duster in her hand.

And I guess she's been dead years now.
She was old as could be then.
I never knew, the day we moved,
I'd not see her face again.

But, move we did,
from 'the flats', to number ninety-nine.
We had gardens - front AND back -
my own bedroom, yes! All mine!

From the windows of our council house
the world changed, all around.
The sweet peas were uprooted,
houses claimed my common ground.

So, I don't own it any more,
if I ever did.
But home is home, wherever,
inside I'm still that kid.

Who ran and jumped and shouted,
a childhood held dear,
and though I think "I've come so far"
my life began round here.
Miss Tabitha Devereaux
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