they are young,
moulded by the past
and those who would use them.
they do not know their beauty
or question that the world is theirs.
adolescent brain chemicals fizz in their heads
twisting them in loud high street mating rituals crudely practiced
from the age of twelve, or ten, or even less.
at sixteen their techniques
may be a little more sophisticated,
but the lost ones drink in the park, pick up quickies,
tell themselves that every notch in the shrubbery bark
is a valuable conquest, another page of evidence
that they are loved, that they can
win the heart of any man –
but they don’t believe it.
they are young, in a land
of brittle hearts, charred dreams,
greedy advertising of harmful things,
where we reach for inconsequential fakery
in the crossed-finger promise of a better life.
they think the whole weeping world is theirs,
but we haven’t shown them its beauty
and they cannot see their own.
©Jane Paterson Basil