He wasn’t disappointed in life. That was what people liked to believe, that it was life that disappointed men like him, life, the world, being alive, when, in fact, the opposite was true: Tommy loved the world, he loved trees and water and stones and sky, he loved the earth, he loved swimming in the river on a hot summer’s day, or walking in the snowy woods in the middle of winter. He wasn’t even disappointed in people, or not really. What disappointed him was the world people made, the institutions, the rules, the conventions by which they lived, whereby one man’s life was richer and easier than another’s for no good reason and – worse – these rules by which the poor, the weak, the deceived, the disadvantaged perpetuated their own condition, looking for a boss, believing what they were told, obeying the joyless laws that were made for no other reason than to hold down and contain every spark of life in their hearts and minds and bodies, every last glimmer of energy, or imagination, or everyday joy.
John Burnside, Living Nowhere
Photograph taken in Morley, Leeds, 2015.