‘tis thus they live – a picture to the place
Nights were magic then, once barefoot kids
were tucked in jazzy blankets fast asleep.
The dark belonged to us. We’d leave the fire
where grannies knitted and old tales were spun,
to dare each other into woods, run wild;
up trees the girls would thunder us with acorns
then jump down to be kissed, while old men spat
into the fire, supped their home-made ale.
It was best when Irish cousins came,
the back-home accent of the roaring boys,
who played their fiddling tiddley-eye tunes.
By day we worked with horses, went to school,
but nights were ours for play. The villagers
said we were scroungers, didn’t pay our way.
But money had changed hands to get this place.
One autumn day the bailiffs called. We fought
to stay. Then ‘dozers came, my mum was bashed
and all our pitches wrecked, our friends forced off.
I doubt I’ll ever see my girl again.
There’s just a few of us left now, to squat
in ruined camp and hope for snow to come
and cover up this mess of burned-out ground.