Taken Out of the Fight
Four sit on a bench by Hartlepool War Memorial,
trying to look busy and failing. The sheer
embarrassment at their unemployment and
inactivity pasted crudely on their acne-ridden
faces and longing stares, as I walk past.
A few paces away, the red borough council
building, where earlier I had heard plans from
the mouth of the chief executive, hopeful
of change, realistic that town rejuvenation
would take time. As I exited, these four were
of course still there, an hour later, one for all,
and, if they remembered, all for one, beside
a monument to struggle, another form of work
to fight and die for thy neighbour, thy country.
But the fight had been taken out of these four.