Perhaps it was an illusion…

A child of the fifties, born in mid-forty-nine
We hoped for a future where all would be fine.
But many like me became angry young men
Things just weren’t so fine, it was like that back then.
The class system flourished, it was ever thus
Kids from estates discouraged from fuss.
The woollen school blazer was so heavy in the rain
Barathea too expensive, so much lighter again.
But the grammar school system saved so many of us kids
Success was on merit and we rose from the skids.
“You’re the top two percent who’ve got into these schools”
They delighted in telling us, the such snobbish fools.
And then it’s to work and a living to make
You give such a lot just for crumbs from the cake.
And surviving it all was a fight on your hands
The boss on your back with his pointless demands.
Men called for strikes which meant countless lost days
And wages reduced I recall through the haze.
The making of goods soon slipped into the past
Strike followed strike, it just couldn’t last.
But that was the then, and it can’t be retrieved
Ships, pits and steel in which folks all believed.
People took sides, but both sides were so wrong
Communities torn open that were previously strong.
A generation of workers were thrown on the dole
Made to feel worthless by those in control.
When crossing a picket line unsticks family glue
Through it the wives bore the brunt as they do.
Some men retrained to escape from such follies
Others just survived gathering supermart trollies.
And then we moved on into bright retrained days
Technology beckoned and computers amaze.
Learned how to programme them to do work for us
And all about memory and the serial bus.
Then we started to write and note it all down
And the hard looking back made us think with a frown.
It had not been so bad, as the anger suggests
Though life seems to be such a series of tests.
Part way we took turn to raise kids ourselves
Notes put to one side at the back of dark shelves.
With no one to teach us, we plodded that road
Our children, quite wondrous, sound paths they both strode.
Each has now married and set out for themselves
It’s past time to get back those notes off the shelves.
Sitting at the keyboard and pondering life
Casting one’s mind back to those days full of strife.
It could have been different, I think we all know
But protagonists have muscle that they do like to show.

©Joe Wilson – Perhaps it was just an illusion…2015

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