All through those weeks off school our fathers watched us our mothers took extra hours in part-time jobs
and the news was men in denim thumping coaches police playing British Bulldog or riding horses
while Mr Oxby lined up rollies in a tin pinched bitter shreds of Virginia from his tongue
and taught us kids exactly what was what whose parents were digging deep and whose were not.
Tom Warner was born in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, but now lives in Norwich. Among other prizes, Tom has received an Eric Gregory Award (2001), a Faber New Poets Award (2010), the Escalator Prize (2011) and the Plough Prize (2011). A pamphlet of Tom’s poetry was published by Faber & Faber in 2010. He works as a visiting poet to schools. This poem was previously published in the Rialto.