Border Town

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Border town in the Marcher lands

Where castle and scaffold once did stand

To keep the hill boys well in hand

Just across the line


A line on the earth divided states

Don’t be caught after dark inside the gates

English laws, Welshman’s fate

Wait across the line


Scored on the map the facts on the ground

Just scratch the surface and see what you’ve found

You don’t have to dig but a little way down

Under the streets of this sleepy little town


When the boys come in to the Lion bar

In the pickup truck or the battered car

You really don’t have to look too far

To see across the line


In the pubs and the dances on a Friday night

Under the hill in the fading light

There may be a girl or there may be a fight

Just across the line


They stand beside the dance floor glasses in their fists

Watching the town lads in the band and the chances they

have missed

With the girls they knew at school and the wishes on their list

And they know that they’re running out of time



Tomorrow morning they’ll be back on the hill

Sheep marked out, another truck to fill

Money for diesel and the mobile bill

Lets them go a little further down the line


Now the boys leave home and never return

Hills are empty for bracken and fern

Houses sold to city folk with money to burn

Just across the line


The walls are gone, the gates are wide

No one’s at home, no stock inside

They’re gone with the wind and lost to the tide

Just a cross the line


Both sides of the line now the history has changed

Hear it in the accents, read it in the names

Crossing the mark where Offa staked his claim

Reaching just across the line


Knighton, Oswestry, Welshpool, Montgomery - these border towns have the scent of their history running through them. and those border skirmishes are still being replayed in pubs and market squares on Friday nights and on the terraces of Bumpers Lane, The New Gay Meadow and the Racecourse whenever the away team is from just across the border.


In my younger days a gig in some of those village halls or pubs was a trip to the wild west for nice middle class hippies like me.


These days the hippies have often bought the land and settled in the homesteads - it's another turn of the wheel I suppose. And where it takes us time will tell.