The Tunnels

As damp as a February in Cilfrew.
And when the wind hits
from straight ahead,
rattling and whooshing
around that whistling bend,
there is not a prayer yet invented
nor an Oxfam coat thick enough
to keep off its aching sting.
They sit huddled in shadowed lines,
stuffed old newspaper and cardboard
between themselves
and the circular cement walls.
Set in the heavy mantra of waiting…
exhausting already frayed nerves
and chewing their ragged souls
far down past the quick.
At Sunrise comes a slight, shuffling reprieve
as they forage outside to toilet.
Tick another merciless night away
with ‘Barely Made It Through’ frowns.
Then, slowly follow the ice-cold stream,
with their begging bowls ready,
back into the Twenty-First Century.

Paul Tristram is a widely published Welsh writer who deals in the Lowlife, Outsider, and Outlaw genres.  He wrote his first poem as a teenager following his release from the (Infamous) Borstal ‘HMP Portland’, and he has been creating Literary Terrorism ever since. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.