The strays

They ride their ragged bikes
reckless, helmetless,
around the streets,
without fear of sanction
and with no sense of
the meaning of law,
and civilised behaviour.

No school worries their days
of fearless roaming and flight,
and weaving their way across
roads and footpaths without
being aware, it seems, of who
or what is there to hold them back.

They are the lawless ones:
the barefoot children with nowhere
to be and nowhere to go,
who move as strays in packs that come dirty
to their home to eat and sleep
and then return to their aimless
tribal territory where they hunt
like rabid dogs.

They are the children of now
and of history that time will not value,
for they are without the civility
and the ambition that should attend
the days of those for whom we
wish the most and expect the best.

Somebody’s children they are,
but nobody’s except their own,
on their bikes that make them free
and make them bound to a life that
has only one end when their only
actual skill is to survive and
their future is unknown.