Friday, 4 January 2019

Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau?

Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau?
Land of my Fathers?

Nailed, they were, by work,
or by the lack of it more like;
jiggling to the puppet masters.
Ducking and diving, weaving 
a few bob, for a few pints, 
for a laugh, and a smoke 
and a cough.

Jack the Lad.

Nicotine-fingered on the yellow-brown
Ben Truman, Capstan Full Strength,
stained walls. Spinning a crooked-toothed 
yarn to the raucous card school;
double-tapping the domino across
a beer swilled table. Drawing down
the alcohol-warmed curtain on their day.
See you boys.

Jack the Lad.

Black did they haunt: the board-man, and
the means test, and the workhouse,
all down the back-rooms of their memory;
but blasé their devil-may-care attitude
to a life on the run from fate; long
gas-mantled, in a slum not slum,
clichéd in memory, but dire and close
at the time when the doctor’s panel 
ran the lottery of life.

I am, I am, Jack the Lad

In the Land of my Fathers the lad
and his girl become the couplet in
the poetry of the long-damned.
Their children twisting the puppet
master’s strings, that never break.
That tie the blackness with a bow
on the gift of a life in harness in the 
Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau?

But I was, Jack the Lad, 
I was, I was! In my
Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau

Wasn’t I?

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