In valley towns the elder ways
hang on like dad’s chums; they struggle
to pass their habits on, their genes
long since committed, best they can.
And if the kids, and the kids’ kids,
break out into docklands and loft
flats and little gated enclaves,
the valleys shut up. Keep mum mum,
keep dad, too, ligature thin, hope
he doesn’t speak, he’d only cough,
a lucky strike, a lost best hope.
The kids spread, their new jeans low slung,
vaunting how they quite disavow
vernaculars, forget the terms
for tucking in. The valley mouth
shrinks. There are runes hidden inside
cereal boxes, bottles filled
with elderflowers. The kids come
for funerals; haply they praise
famous men, the powerful wind.