Jimmys’ field 1960

an open greenish plot
created over an ancient midden
with a brackish pool
barely a foot deep
at one end lay a row
of 1860’s red brick terraces
that were slowly coming
into the 20th century
out went the tin baths
& in came the plumbing
an end to outdoor toilets
back of the grey brick yard
tin baths for the family
on a Saturday night
the old tin baths
would be flung out
on to jimmys’ field
& we’d punt them
in our own races
across jimmys’ pit
patching the holes
with mud & bits of lino
which would let go
& we’d feel the cold water
seep into our backsides
just before we sank
which we knew
meant ‘big trouble’
when we got home
so we avoided that
for as long as possible
jimmys’ field was where
we held our bonfire nights
three or four bonfires
each to a corner of the field
& we’d raid each others
in devout competition
for the biggest ‘bonny’
the thin thread throughout
all of this was our poverty
few had bicycles
homes that welcomed
strangers kids
for fear they’d need to be fed
need something more
than the family had
& we knew nothing of this
this was just how ‘things were’
& as I go back to visit
Jimmys’ field
is now but a bit of rough ground
the pond has gone
as are the kids
they have the luxury
of warm indoors
& know the cold outside
to be a dangerous place


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