North & South

I come from the streets of Parson Cross

but I grew up before in the fresh salt air of the Suffolk coast.

I come from a family of dreamers but we still feel the worry.

I come from tea and crumpets but the mirror on the wall

in the front room plays out pictures of violence in the streets outside.

I come from avoiding the drugs, guns and gangs of the Win Gardens,

and from knowing the well-tended gardens of the rich.

I come from the smell of freshly cooked stew while I’m curled

in front of the TV, but I know the pressure and slog of hard graft.

I come from the snow and ice of the north,

but have felt the tropics of the south.

I come from schools that know rich, and schools that know poor,

but I always suffered the torments and traumas of the lunchtime yard.

I come from dreams and goals but I’ve yet to succeed.

 I come from the wood chip of council rows, the cheek

of the private lord (who doesn’t understand the word private),

from the all mod-cons of static caravan living.

I come from moving 200 miles, from losing friends to distance,

from a missed coastline, sunshine and seagulls.

I come from poverty and wealth,

the north and the south.

I come from the steal and the dockyard,

from waiting for dreams to lift their anchor

and push themselves from the shore.

Written by Steven, age 16, as part of Youth Word Up 2017