F.4 Poem - Boys
The Tunnel    by Brian Lee

This is the way that I have to go
I’ve left all my friends behind
Back there, where a faint light glimmers
Round the long tunnel’s bend.

I can’t see a roof up above me,
I can’t find either wall,
My shoes slip on the slimy boulders—
How far is it down, if I fall

Beneath me the same stream is flowing
That laughed in the fields back there—
Here, it is black, like the leeches and weeds,
And the bats flitting through the dank air.

It’s just the same if I shut my eyes
My companions, all around,
Are trickles, drips, sploshes, sudden plops,
Then, a strange, sucking sound.

One shoe’s full of the cold dark water,
My hands slither over the stones,
My throat’s gone dry, my heart pound-pounds,
But I can only go on—

Till I can see them, they can see me
And again they start to shout,
The rats bite, watch out for the rats,
But now I am almost out

Dizzy, happy, I blink at the light,
The sun’s still shining, the birds still sing.
Someone is patting me on the back—
Now I am one of the gang.