Tag Archives: rememberance

In the gardens and the fields

Over twenty years after the end
gardens still had hollow mounds
or curved corrugated tin domes half buried
some doing duty as tool sheds
many simply as they were
when the bombing stopped
full of the detritus of nights spent sheltering
while death flew overhead

Mounds and tunnels  riddled
our playing fields
dry brick-lined hiding places
against bombers seeking factories
and factory workers
to blast and wreck
we used them  for massive games of hide and seek

London streets had gaps, play spaces
festooned with stately spires of
purple flowers, amid mossy rubble
the occasional crumpled saucepan
so much broken crockery

As a child, our father collected bullets and bomb shards
watched fighters fall crashing out of the sky
and ran to collect souvenirs while the metal was still hot

I and my brothers knew wars last remnants
and played amongst ghosts

Copyright © 2019 Kim Whysall-Hammond

In Memoriam

Friday Poem: The Cenotaph

The man in the Trilby hat has furtively shifted it;
The man with the clay pipe has pushed his fists deeper into his pockets;
Beparcelled women are straining their necks
To stare.
Through the spattered windows of the omnibus
We see,
Dumb beneath the rain,
Marshalled by careful policemen,
Four behind four,
The relatives of dead heroes,
Clutching damp wreaths.
Within the omnibus there is silence
But for a sniff.
Then a plump woman speaks,
Softly, unquerulously:
‘I wouldn’t’, she says,
‘I wouldn’t stand in a queue to have my feelings harrowed,
No myself, I wouldn’t.’
The omnibus swerves to the pavement,
And the plump woman
Prepares for equable departure.
‘But there,’ she adds unbitterly,
‘I often think it wouldn’t do
For us all to be alike.
There’s some as can’t,
But then, again,
There’s some, you see,
As can.’
Beautiful,
Plump woman,
(Plump of mind as well as of body)
Beautiful is your tolerance
Of human idiosyncrasy.
When my impatient feet would tap in irritation,
When my breath would break out in abuse,
When my scornful lips would frame themselves
(At the vices,
Or at the virtues,
Of my neighbours)
Into a sneer only half pitiful,
May I remember you
And murmur with serenity,
Without intensity,
Without virulence,
‘I wouldn’t,
Not myself,
But then, again,
There’s some, you see,
As can’.

by Ursula Roberts aka Susan Miles