Magazine article WLA ; War, Literature and the Arts

Birmingham Etudes, 1943

Magazine article WLA ; War, Literature and the Arts

Birmingham Etudes, 1943

Article excerpt

I. Next Door

The unlucky did not always burn or bleed.

A blast sucked air right out of a body.

Some families were found around the table

supper still warm, cat on the hearth rug,

mannequins all. Sensible folk tucked in early,

filled kitchen pots with water, betting the mains

would break before morning. Grief deep as black horses.

II. Hoping for a Foggy Night

A thousand nights aflame. Another night

inside the shelter, sleepy-eyed and nervous.

A child can feel each spider in the dark.

Next morning, climbing out to find two fish

without their eyes, bombs dangling from our tree

like Christmas earrings, in ripped and tangled silk.

When planes were weathered in, we slept secure

in bed, our folded cotton handkerchiefs

their ordinary selves, inside our pockets.

III. Jerry

You stand straight in your blondness.

Saluting, your arm blocks the sun.

In the newsreel, a crowd is shouting

but your eyes bruise my heart. I heard

they are blue. I am your enemy,

though on another day I could show you

how light pools on the rock wall in the back

garden, broken stones where we could sit

to stroke each other and whisper. …

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