You recall those days when you should have been at school but well….ye weren’t?
On the Bunk
Who knows whose plan it was.
We did it just because
we could and in Hill Street met
near the aptly named You Bet.
Our going was good to fair,
promised land for colt and mare.
But we not quite as fast
gathered near the old flag mast.
To escape the ever watchful eye
of observant teachers walking by
we from our bags fast removed
old clothes that quickly proved
a neat disguise. In we blended
but success it still depended
on getting up the Barcroft Hill
before doubt might wilt our will.
My mate shared an age with me,
the girls the same numerically.
I liked Anne, her laugh was rude
and in her eyes I understood
that she was as mad as any.
Al was shy but of the many
forays dark discoes saw
Michelle held his heart enthrall.
Against the tide of uniforms
bound for multi subject storms
we four crossed the grey canal,
the sky the same, quite banal.
Excited, anxious at the deed
we increased our walking speed
until a quarter after nine
we set out on the steep incline.
On we pushed higher, higher
until we saw the skyward spire
of the Cathedral, arrow straight,
going back was now too late.
There beyond the din of faces
we had reached the best of places,
a silent and abandoned shed,
in place of cows us instead.
After that the seconds slowed
as several bales we threw below
and used as desks. Well not quite
but at the time they felt just right.
We talked and laughed, tensions eased
our great escape all had pleased.
A cigarette by Anne was lit
and calmly blew the smoke from it
to douse the match. Oh how cool!
Far better craic than French at school.
We shared the hot ash-ended stick
after which I felt quite sick
but did not let on in case Anne thought
by tobacco I was overwrought.
Michelle and Al checked their bags
and both pulled out a box of fags.
I left them puffing for a while
and knew that smoke was not my style.
The time slowly moved till noon,
afterwards did not come soon
until at two and more miles walked
hunger’s army us had stalked.
In the tempest of the feat
none had brought a thing to eat.
Allied now with mist and drizzle
all I could hear was the sizzle
of a Pat’s burger as he said
the immortal words ‘onions…red?’
We set out again back to town
from Carnaget, a long way down
the Barcroft Hill to Dominic Street.
Damp of clothes and wet of feet
we trudged slowly to the square
and saw school mates meeting there.
We brave faces to them showed.
Praise and awe swiftly followed
as we relayed a raucous day
on the bunk mid straw and hay.
Michelle and Anne bid us farewell.
Impressed or not we could not tell
though ever since each time we met
Anne offered me a cigarette.
Of course she knew that I’d refuse
but would always ask ‘any news
about the boul’ Michelle and Al?
Ye mind the day on Newry canal?’
Memories remain almost complete
so that when I see upon the street
a gang of four or six or eight
and for school they are too late,
that wonders wide fill their eyes
before time slows, before time flies.