Part 9 of 60 - Running Further (part 2)


I dart out of the door and take a sharp left, and then sprint through the nearby alleyway.
I know there’s a train station across the road, and plenty of time in the day.

Hope that nobody sees me and grasses me up, and I don’t know what time these trains come.
And only once have I ever even been on a train, when I went to Walsall once with my mum.

I got to the station, in just a few seconds, and a train had pulled in straight away.
I see there’s a lady train guard standing there, so I make my way over and say,

“Where does this train go?”, and she then replied “Birmingham”, so I went onto the train.
Hope that I’ve not been spotted, and my heart is now racing, but at the same time I try to act plain.

The train then starts moving, and my hearts beating faster, a mix of excitement and fear.
I’m scared that the police might recognise me, and maybe they’ll come onto here.

I’ve heard that Birmingham is a big place, and that is all I really know.
And no-one will think to look for me there, so that is where I will go.

I then get a ticket from the other train guard, hoping no questions are asked.
I pull out a twenty, because now I have plenty, and I’m leaving this place in the past.

“Child ticket?” he asks, and with “yes” I reply, and he gives me my ticket and change.
And I’m glad that the train’s driving so far away, as it now starts to get out of range.

A few stations later, the train then stops at Bloxwich, and on my carriage get on two police.
I hope they don’t see me, because it’s inside school hours, but I’m wearing my tracksuit and fleece.

I’m crapping it now, will they recognise me? Am I about to get caught by a cop?
But luckily, they both got off at Walsall, which thankfully was the next stop.

Past Bescot Stadium and Tamebridge Parkway, past Villa Park right into Brum.
I wonder by now if the police know that I’m missing, and reported by my foster mum.

‘Oh what a big tunnel, I’ve never done this’, I thought as the train pulled into New Street.
Tried my best to keep normal, and stay inconspicuous, as I got up from my seat.

The doors opened, I got off the train, and then felt an adrenaline stream.
First time in a city, whilst on my own tod, and the furthest alone that I’d been.

I walked behind the commuters, they all seemed in a rush, and then the main hall was where I got to.
Every time that I saw a police officer’s clothes, I tried my best to stay right out of view.

Convinced that they’d seen me, I’d quickly walk on, and then turn my head over my shoulder.
Did not hang about, as I felt I stood out, because everyone around was much older.

Walked outside of the station, and past some more police, but I didn’t spend that much time on the street.
I then turned around, to go back to the shop, to buy myself something to eat.

And then I saw, the departure boards, and on the list I then saw Coventry.
And I’d been fascinated by the designing of stadiums, when I’d see the football on the TV.

So that’s where I’ll go, to Coventry’s stadium, just have a quick peek from outside.
So I find my way to the ticket office, and go on to pay for my ride.

Back through the manned gates, and down to the train, on the way to Coventry I now go.
It’s been a good couple of hours since I had left, surely by now they must know.

No police on this train, I’m now much more relaxed, as I observe life around from this chair.
There are all sorts of people, going all sorts of places, and it’s not long until I get there.

I get off the train and then walk out of the station, to try and find where Coventry play.
But there weren’t many people, around to ask for directions, and I had no clue of the way.

I walked back in to the station, didn’t know what to do, still hoping I’d not yet been seen.
And then I saw, in bright orange letters, “London Euston” on the timetable screen.

‘London Euston?’ I thought, I wonder if that, is the capital city or not.
And if it is, then that sounds exciting, I’d like to go there a lot.

Or is it a village, in the middle of nowhere, that just happens to share the same name?
I don’t want to be, stuck out in the sticks, like I was in Great Haywood again.

So I asked a man, waiting inside the station, “Excuse me mate could you help me?
Does that writing there, that says ‘London Euston’, mean ‘London’ as in the city?”

The man in his twenties then chuckled and said, “Yes mate that’s the same place,
The train comes in five minutes, and arrives on this platform”, in which I then replied to him “ace.”

And when the train came, with excitement jumped on, the inside seemed well kept and plush.
As the train left, I once again, felt that same big intense rush.

The ticket inspector came up, I got out my cash, and said “A child single to London mate, please.”
As I gave him my money, he then printed my ticket, and looked at me with slight unease.

“Where are you going, when you get to London?” the ticket inspector then suddenly said.
Then I had to think, of the quickest thing, which had come to me from inside my head.

“I’m meeting a pen-pal” I replied, “Where does he live?” the ticket man says.
“I can’t quite remember”, was what I’d thought to say, “but I’m staying there for a few days.”

“Is anyone meeting you at the other end? Have you got a number for them you can call?”
In which I reply “his dad’s meeting me there, and I don’t have a number at all.”

“So where are your bags?” he continues to ask, “Surely you have packed up some clothes?”
“His dad’s lending me some”, was the answer I thought, and I start to wonder if he now knows.

“OK” he then said and he gave me a ticket, and then walked off once I’d said “thank you”.
A big sigh of relief, I can once again breathe, as I sit and I think to myself ‘phew’.

But it’s not over yet, could have he called the police? Will there be some at the other end?
Or did he believe, my quick made up story that I was off to see my friend?

(continues below ad and music) 


The train pulls into Euston station, I can’t believe that I’ve made it here.
I get that same rush, that I’ve been getting all day, the mix of excitement and fear.

Don’t let the police see me, I try and act straight, in the middle of the crowds I will stay.
But my chances of getting caught now feel a lot slimmer, because I’m feeling so far away.

And then I walk into the main hall, still early and got loads of time.
Make my way through the station, and then I see, a big London underground sign.

I’d only once seen that red and blue symbol, on my mum’s computer game.
With some tunnels you’d walk through, with no tracks at all, I didn’t think that there’d be a train.

So for a few moments, in my mind I had thought, they were just tunnels to walk underground.
Until I’d seen, all the ticket machines, and then down below I heard a train sound.

I looked at the map, and I couldn’t believe, the number of stations I saw.
I know that I now, can get away, like I’ve not got to before.

This time it’s different, I’ve got money to travel, another ticket I can afford.
I read names of some places that I’d vaguely heard of, mainly from the Monopoly board.

Piccadilly Circus, Waterloo, King’s Cross and Leicester Square.
Leicester Square looks quite easy to get to from here, so I think that I will go there.

I buy a ticket and get down to the train, everything feels so busy to me.
Its hustle and bustle, and people look different, I feel that there’s so much to see.

I didn’t realise that the stations were close, I was surprised how quick I’d got there.
The train felt so fast, as it had passed, through the tunnels and then to Leicester Square.

The train soon pulls in, and I leave the tube station, and I take a short wander around.
The first time I’d seen buskers and human statues, and homeless folk there on the ground.

Portrait artists and tourists with maps, all different nationalities.
I heard Foreign-spoken languages all around me, and there seemed to be lots of Chinese.

Not too long after whilst still walking around, it had then started to lightly rain.
And I wasn’t sure, if it would star to pour, so I went back to get on the train.

I look at the map and I then see Piccadilly Circus is just one stop away.
And I’ve never been, to once see a circus, so there for a while I will stay.

Unknown to me then, it was only a few yards walk through Coventry Street.
I’d brought one more ticket, got back on the train, but had walked more than I’d sat in my seat.

I saw the bright lights that you’d see on the postcards, it felt like I was at the fair.
See yet more buskers, and tourists would get henna tattoos whilst sat on a chair.

I wandered around, and absorbed it all in, still with no plan or no purpose.
I then asked a man in a group out on the town, “Excuse me mate where is this circus?”

“This is it mate” he then replied, “There’s no circus?” I had then asked.
“It’s not that kind of circus, it’s because of the road”, he said as so many folk passed.

Not too long after, I made my way back, back on to the underground.
And once again looked at the tube map, to see what places could be found.

‘Angel’ sounded an interesting place, felt like something would be there.
But I soon got bored, with not much to do, so I decided that I’d go elsewhere.

I walked back to the tube, and then looked at the map, and saw ‘Arsenal’ next to a blue line.
I supported that team, and to go to Highbury, was a newfound childhood dream of mine.

After asking the staff inside the tube station, if that was where Arsenal play.
I then once again got on a train, sat down this time and made my way.

And to my surprise, the station was busy, plenty of folk were walking in.
And outside of the tube was a bloke selling scarfs, and flags from inside of a bin.

A game had been on, there at Highbury, so I made my way up to the ground.
The gates were still open and people were leaving, so I went inside to look around.

Up a few stairs and through the long hall, to the top corner of the end stand.
I imagine they’re playing, and Ian Wright’s scoring, and then in front of my face waves a hand.

“I’m sorry mate, but you’ve got to leave, we’re emptying the stadium now”,
“No worries” I said, because I was just glad, that I’d caught a good look somehow.

Out of the stadium, and back to the tube, I don’t really know where to go.
So I rode the tube back to Piccadilly Circus, where buskers would put on a show.

The sound of loud bongos, and folk having fun, when I got there it had now turned to night.
And it ain’t gone dead quiet, like where I am from, and the vibe at the time felt alright.

I walked down the street, where I saw a souvenir shop, so I buy myself a wallet from there.
And then soon I see, that I have quickly, wandered back to Leicester Square.

I walk past the buskers, and the Pizzerias, and the tube station that I now know.
But time’s ticking on, and I still haven’t found, any kind of shelter to go.

Back to the tube map, now where do I go, somewhere safe this time of night?
And then I saw, Whitechapel station, and thought that it sounded alright.

Surely I’m safe, near some big white chapel, it doesn’t sound a busy place.
No-one will be around there at night surely, which means that few will see my face.

I buy yet one more ticket, still plenty of money, and I feel like a millionaire.
Through the barriers, and down the escalators, a Rasta busker plays Bob Marley there.

I change at Kings Cross, learn to read the tube map, get on the Hammersmith and City line.
I’m sure it will be quite a beautiful place, and this big white chapel will be fine.

Ben Westwood is revealing a full poem a day of his sixty chapter true-story novel in poetry between April 20th - June 20th 2018.
If you'd rather not wait until June to read the full version then you can also order a copy of Poems From a Runaway on amazon for immediately delivery at 

Part 3 of 60 - Great Haywood

(You can pre-order 2nd edition signed colour paperbacks and hardbacks until 14th August @

If you'd rather not wait until June to read the full version then you can also order a copy of Poems From a Runaway on amazon for immediately delivery at 
(non colour/signed paperbacks)


Another bad letter from school today,
And my mum has already got stress.
I just feel now that I’m a burden on people,
And this is just gonna make mess.

Don’t wanna hear anger, don’t wanna hear shouting,
And I don’t wanna make my mum swear.
I just feel it’s better for everyone here,
If I made my own way elsewhere.

I don’t really know where I’m going,
But the road down to Stafford ain’t far.
I just really hope, that I don’t get caught,
By someone that spots me from a car.

So I make my way, a mile and half down the road,
Until there’s a turning to take.
There’s a sign that says ‘Stone’ and the name sounds quite cool,
So that is the way that I make.

Never heard of this place, but I think with that name, 
that there’s surely something to see.
So I head on my way, and I think by now,
That my mum could be looking for me.

I walk through the village of Little Haywood,
Still trying to head towards Stone.
Across the road were two girls, and one recognised me,
And I told them I’d ran off from home.

They offered to help me get somewhere to sleep,
“We’ll sneak you some food too”, they said.
I met them both later, and at first the plan,
Was for one of them to sneak me into their shed.

“I can’t get you in, because my dad is at home,
But here’s a blanket you can keep.
I know just the place, there’s a ditch down the road,
It’s sheltered and you’ll get some sleep”

So we made our way and walked up the road,
Through the village and then to the top end.
We then get to a junction, where there’s a main road,
 The way to Stone just round the bend.

One girl pointed over to across the road,
And said “Look there’s that ditch you can stay.
It’s covered in trees, look we got to go back,
Because there’s not much light left in the day.”

They’d gave me a pillow and I made a bed,
With a blanket and a bag that I’d lent.
They gave me some fruit and said “We’ve got to scoot,
We’ll see you tomorrow” then went.

I wondered around for a short while,
But soon did come the dark night.
And every few minutes came fast cars and headlights, 
And I just hoped that I’d stayed out of sight.

By now I know, that I’ve crossed the line,
And I’ve actually now ran away.
But I’m under the moon and now look at the stars,
And haven’t thought once about the next day.

When morning came, I then wandered around,
But there’s nothing at all here I can do.
So I waited around, to meet up with the girls,
When I’ll see them next I’ve not got a clue.

In the afternoon I then bumped into them,
When they had got back home from their school.
“The police have been asking everyone about you”
She said, but I just kept my cool.

“We’ll pop up by later, and drop you some food”,
One of the girls had then said to me.
“I’ll sneak out my pudding, and come and bring it out, 
to you once I’ve finished my tea”.

I met them both later and one girl had said,
“Maybe it’s time that you went back home.”
I said “I’ll be alright, I’ll just stay one more night,
Then make my way over to Stone.”

And then around midnight I must have been tired,
As I stared at the branch of a tree.
For over five minutes, I’d contemplated,
If there was a big spider in front of me.

I’d got really scared and then so made a leap,
Right out of the bush quick like a stag.
Now what do I do? Because in there’s my blanket,
My food, my coat and my bag.

So I make my way just a few yards down the road,
To a house with some lights I could see.
I knocked on the door, a middle-aged man had then answered,
I said “Please mate, could you help me?”

“I think there’s a spider in the bush I’ve been sleeping,
And I just need to get back my stuff.”
“How old are you mate?” he then asked me,
“And why are you out there sleeping rough?”

“Seventeen” I replied, and I’ve been kicked out,
Is there anything at all you can do?”
“I’ll just get my torch” he then said in reply,
“Then I will come there to help you.”

We walked to the bush and then he shone his torch,
And said “Mate, there’s nothing to fear,
Your stuff is alright, and there is no sight,
Of a spider that would bite you here.”

So then I said “Thanks”, and then off the man went,
And I felt like a fool for my scare.
And then I could see around four miles away,
A helicopter up in the air.

“What if that helicopter was looking for me?
“It’s probably not” in my head I had said.
Before closing my eyes, to try to get some sleep,
But I still have those thoughts in my head.

I’d got no more than around one hour of sleep,
And I’d woken up covered in sticks.
I went to find warmth, but there was nowhere at all,
By now it was sometime around six.

Two hours go by, oh now what should I do?
I shouldn’t stay here one day again.
But most of my morning I simply spent trying,
To get myself out of the rain.

I did all that I could, to try and find shelter,
But there’s nowhere, this village is small.
And then on my way back, again to the ditch,
It seemed that I’d hit a brick wall.

I don’t know how I’m gonna survive,
No money, no food and I’m wet.
There’s nowhere to go, except for back home,
And then I found myself upset.

The only thing, I could think of to do,
Was to flag down a car that came by.
And tell them that I, have ran away,
Maybe they’ll get me home into the dry.

So I see some cars, and I wave and I shout,
But the first five cars ignore.
And then a nice lady stops whilst I am crying,
I tell her I can’t run anymore.

“Get in” she says, “I’ll help you get back,
I’m a nurse” then she showed me ID.
I said I was scared that I’d let them all down,
But she said they’d be glad to see me.

We got to her house and she gave me a towel,
And then she rang the police from her phone,
She walked back in the room, and said “they’re on their way, your mum just wants you there back home.”

A policeman came by, and picked me up,
I was scared that my mum would be mad.
“Don’t worry” he said, “You just need your bed,
You’re alright and everyone’s glad.”

“If you’d not been found within the next half an hour,
We were gonna put you on the TV.”
And he then told me, last night they’d got a chopper,
Out all night looking for me.

Watch/ listen at

(You can pre-order 2nd edition signed colour paperbacks and hardbacks until 14th August @

If you'd rather not wait until June to read the full version then you can also order a copy of Poems From a Runaway on amazon for immediately delivery at 
(non colour/signed paperbacks)

Reflections #2

So in the poem I posted earlier - 'Springfields', it explains how I was a bit of a naughty kid in primary school.
I don't believe I was ever nasty-natured or anything, but after many years of umming and aahing I've developed a very strong suspicion that I might be one those people in the 'ADHD' camp.

There's a lot of reasons why which you might pick up on in the book as I release them day by day for those following.
If any of you are dedicated and train psychologists and stuff, then I'd love to know what you think if you've read many of the other poems. Do I fit the stereotype? I think it's possible, but not the cause of all my current problems.

One thing's for sure though, despite the opinion of some of my more hippy new age mates, I will always have a soft spot for football. I can't help it. Give me a ball now and watch me turn into a human dog. Seriously, when I see kids kicking a ball about in  the park, in my mind I want to run up and take a shot, but never do. Perhaps I should? And then just run off into the distance and disappear after a spectacular curler around the right post.
OK, so the eleven year old kick I've just kicked the ball towards at 100mph didn't stand a chance, but at least I'm happy.
My five minutes of childhood back, aah it feels good.

Do I feel bad about being the sole purpose of the tuck shop being closed down, sure I do, but at the same time I was a kid, and I forgive myself.
I'm not saying it's an excuse for kids to go and do it, no, no, no. But as an adult, you've had some time to mull over these things and gain a little wisdom ay. Well, at least some of us.

I think the ringing the fire brigade thing was just boredom really. Perhaps because I was often good at keeping my actions a secret that I didn't get taught the consequences enough.
It had never entered my mind that I'd be wasting people's resources when I 'd be ringing the fire brigade, taxi's or ordering pizza's to peoples houses.

As for the shoplifting, well, I guess it always felt I was in the poorest three families at school, although writing this now I wonder which stories I've perhaps overlooked, who knows? Especially when you learn things in this world aren't often what they seem.

For me it was jam sandwiches most day at schools, a pack of 9p No-Frills KwikSave crisps for those that can remember them, and if I was lucky a no frills kitkat.

Not that I wasn't grateful for it, but I think you get bored of having the same stuff, and when you see the kids from better off families with Caramac's and stuff you can't help but get a bit intruiged about wanting the finer things in life that you've never had.
As soon as I got into shoplifting I'd tried them all, and got a bit too into doing it until I'd finally being caught doing it.

It kinda makes me think how crime sort of works in the adult world. You wave something in someone's face or flash it off on TV, make out like anyone can get it and after many people for many years getting depressed about not being able to get those things, some of those people will get things by any means necessary.

I myself soon grew out of all that madness. I got morals these days, perhaps have grew up a lot and know it's simply much better to do something nice for someone that ruin their day and vamp on them somehow.
I think with kids though, is that in general, they just don't think of the consequences.

Anyway, just thought I'd share my thoughts. I'll be uploading poem #3 tomorrow -'Great Haywood'

Take care ;)

Poems From a Runaway - Introduction

I dedicate this book to Sylvie, the first to shine a light on a great love that only a parent could understand. To Mum, for the crap I put her through, and giving up her youth to bring me into this world. To Dad and Kirsty for their great support and encouragement, especially throughout this project.

To all my friends and family, past foster parents, social workers and children’s home staff that made a positive impact on my life. To all the young people in care, care leavers and those working with them.
To the Connection at St Martins, for being my saving grace both as a runaway and immediately afterwards as a young homeless adult. And to the whole world. Pick up the phone and call that person no-one has a clue what is doing.

Let go of your grudges. There is strength in forgiveness. There is treasure in love.


Plenty of people I’ve met that have heard snippets of my life story often comment about how hard it must have been.
The truth is, during most of this adventure, it wasn’t. Not consciously anyway. As you’ll find out, things certainly could have turned out much worse for me. A lot of the people I’d met on the streets had stories a lot more heartbreaking than mine.

And fortunately for me, some of the folk in this book were an important part in changing my outlook on life.
I sometimes wonder - who or what I could have become without these kinds of moments. For those that don’t know me (and those that perhaps think they do!), I don’t do the streets anymore.

Sure I’ve had my times being homeless as an adult, and perhaps with stories like this comes other hurdles, but being the sort of young person I was, it often felt easy.
I guess that I’ve softened up a bit now in my adult life.

But it wasn’t until the age of thirty-two - whilst writing this book - that I’ve ever really reflected on my teenage years as a whole. It’s been somewhat strengthening.
A lot of the people that I’ve written about in this book are now in a completely different time and space. Some for better and some for worse, but for most part – they’ve learned their wisdom along the way.

Perhaps this book will help refresh people’s memories into some of the abstract choices that can be made by a child’s mind?
Or perhaps give one or two social workers a better understanding of bamboozling work cases such as I was?
Welcome to my teenage world of runaways, drug-addicts, predators, alcoholics, prostitutes, down-and-outs, bag ladies, angelic acquaintances and beautiful souls.
Just one more thing…
Donations and money can only do so much for people. If you really want to help the soul of a homeless person, share with them a setting that you yourself would enjoy too.
Share dinner with them, get to know them, invite them to a party, play a game with them, invite them to football or do something creative… 

Just connect. The real deal. Some may have no idea of its importance.
So without further ado, I present to you, my childhood.

(More coming tomorrow!) 

Ben Westwood is revealing a full poem a day of his sixty chapter true-story novel in poetry between April 20th - June 20th 2018.
If you'd rather not wait until June to read the full version then you can also order a copy of Poems From a Runaway on amazon for immediately delivery at