Endless Opportunities

By Carolyne Mitchell

Endless Opportunities

Ma great great granda wis a miner

Lungs choked wi black soot

Each night a tin bath in front o the fire

Scrubbed his skin clean to do it all again tomorrow

Back broken

Soul broken

By hard work and stillborn weans

Ma great granda wis a soldier

Body racked by starvation 

in a Prisoner of War camp somewhere in Japan

He made it home, a ghost from another life

Said nothing

Dreamt nightmares

Of pain and men’s screams

Ma da’s da wis a brickie

Roondit shudders and hauns made o leather

Laggered oot his nut every payday

Ma Gran too scared o a black eye to mention the broken paypacket

Learnt nuthin

Left nuthin

But a broken wife and an angry son

Ma da wis fireman

Scarred by sights he’d seen

Of charred lives and melted memories

Strong and silent and full o gentle fury

Never knocked me down

Go to uni he said

Ye’ll huv endless opportunities, unlike us who came afore ye

So Ah went to uni, in the big Smoke

Made friends, studied hard

Got a 2:1, like abody else and his dug

Noo Ah’m flippin burgers, the guy next ti me an honours in geology

Debt ridden

And blinded

By the endless opportunities

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