His father, put away for
Misbehaviour, wave goodbye.
A teenager before the
Word is born, the Army claims
Him for the country's fight for
Benghazi - weather sunny,
Plenty grub; that's new. Payment
Too. Peace intervenes; home to
Better off by one new suit
He's free to find a job, low
Pay, and a girlfriend, Ann, keen
Romance falls through, but there's his
Cycling, gardening, fishing,
Same boring job, same low wage,
At forty-four Henry Drake
Is made redundant. 'Sorry. . . .
Years. . . cut backs, but we . . . thanks for. . . '
To care for his mother, ailing
Fast. He does his nest; she dies
At eighty-two, leaving him
Stare awhile, at least he's hept
Some hair; he'll join . . . make new . . .
But Englishmen of Henry's
Unprivileged, no decent
Education, find themselves
Ditched by a freedom loving
SING FREEDOM, ed Judith Nicholls
Faber and Faber, Published with assistance of Amnesty International, 1991.