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The short cut through the sewerage
saved me miles
on my journey from school.

Walking past great concrete vats
of steaming human waste,
washed by revolving arms,
that sprayed I know not what.

So when birds
landed
on that crusty muck,
they must have thought
it would hold
their featherweight.

How wrong!

I could not let them die
flapping and screeching,
terrified.

I had to wade in.

My short trousered uniform
now plastered in treated waste.
I would then clean the birds
in the nearest river
and watch them fly away.
Their tiny hearts….

pounding as hard
as my Father’s
hand-held slipper.


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The following comments are for "...but Dad !!!"
by ograd77

but it was worth it, right?
an almost bitter-sweet quality to this one. told, I imagine with a wry smile, backside smarting again at the memory of the injustice. adults are so often blind to the world and the concerns of children. so much gets lost in translation from one generation to the next…

this is a skilful invocation of a particular place and time. infused with a little sadness, perhaps, but I’m glad the boy rescued the birds.

( Posted by: AuldMiseryGuts [Member] On: January 30, 2010 )

.. but Dad
There is something of the poignant disconnect in a child's reaction to the world than to the 'must do' of an adults. A loaded, deep, and simply stated piece. Nicely done!

( Posted by: jonpenny [Member] On: February 4, 2010 )





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