childhood memory

I grew up in a world
rubbed black by carbon,
with acrid air
and soot-stained streets

I breathed in smog,
tasted acid in rain,
saw green hills
stripped naked and bare

white sheep wore coats of grime

people coughed, and pale-faced,
died young of old age

I played in mighty rivers
imagined from polluted streams,
stormed electric pylon castles,
reveled among broken glass
and stinking steel;
pram wheels were my chariots
and sticks my swords

and, secret in the woods on Round Hill,
were deep carpets of bluebells and wild onions

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