Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Small Change

We didn’t fight for freedom and
a land fit for homecoming heroes.
We didn’t survive rationing, air raids,
fire bombs, dog fights, death camps, the Blitz.
We didn’t wake up to the stars above us
and shards of splintered glass in our slippers.
We didn’t see the ghastly dust that hung
on the morning like a shroud.

We didn’t fight it but the war was as real to us
as our fathers and our grateful mothers;
we grew up in the sunlight of their great relief,
heard their terror in the telling of their tales;
we sucked it in with our National Health milk
and we learned that we were the future;
at school, we bought poppies for the fallen dead
and wore them with innocent pride.

We were – we are – the baby boomers;
though now we are a nuisance and a burden,
then we were the tender young
for the sake of whom thousands had died.
When we were still in our nappies,
we were plagued by doubt, and pregnant
with our parents’ expectations: to be happy
was our daily task as our business
was to make things make sense.

Now as we grow older, close in our hearts,
we confront the grey ghost of our failure:
we doused the flame, we dropped the ball,
we turned our backs on the fight.
We dared a while but then we slept
and woke to find our shiny new world broken.
Now hope spills out like so much small change
and our pockets are bereft of our dreams.

© Abigail Wyatt

Why baby boomers fare worst in recession
Abigail was born in Essex and now lives in Cornwall. She writes poetry and short fiction and pokes her nose into places where it is generally little wanted.