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Alison Brackenbury

 

This is the news

“I’m in the train. They say there’s an explosion
In London. I should make the interview.
I’m going on.”

“A power surge. I heard it on the radio.
How’s your mother? Yes, the bloody Tube’s shut down.
Always something going on.”

“I’m at Swindon, but I can’t get out.
The station’s closed, police everywhere. They say
We must go on.”

“It’s bombs, six bombs. Doubledecker buses
Are ferrying the dead. I must get back to my car,
Find out what’s going on.”

“I’m at Reading now. It’s chaos. But a commuter says
Don’t look at the news yet. Once you’re back home, find out
Just what’s been going on.”

“…the news… nine dead. This Sunday’s celebrations,
The end of World War Two. Our army expert. General,
Is the war still going on?”

“Yes. Bristol Parkway. Bombs? I hadn’t heard.
Biscuits- I must go. The train is coming.
I must get on.”

Down through the West, our daughter, turned
Back from the dust, bare steel, the dead, still walking,
With the dark of long war round her eyes
Steps quietly, with the boy, into the evening,
Brings food. Air twitters bats and radio waves.
Beneath the sky’s gold fury
We go on.

 

The Inn for All Seasons

I will stop here for coffee:
And in its dark perfume
Halfway upon my journey
They step into the room

The one who could not love me
Smiles, slips twenty years.
My old horse whinnies, rideable,
His quick mind washed of fears.

My tabby cat, no longer thin
Races the summer wind.
And I recall each urgent thing
My long sleep left behind,

My child without her sorrows
Long grass without chill dew,
My mother’s name, that shopping list,
What I must say to you.

Here is the gate, here is the chance
The calm dark rooms will give.
The bend flies up before me.
I steer away, and live.

 

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