I remember the warmth of, and the rise
Of hardest stones, comfortable safety;
Sleeping at home, hidden from human eyes.
I remember the tapping of hammers
Through my grain, the boring of steel feathers;
Wedges cracking me from my parent stone.
I remember the steel shaping of me,
The upside-down placing – they spoiled thee –
They gave me open wounds and bored my feet.
The rains pouring in to my poorly stone;
The trickles of water drips through my grain
And washed and turned my stone to dust again.
I remember, one day, I awakened
And three springs chuckled and sang to me
And the land laughed and I was welcomed.
I remember the fine Pleasure Gardens
And the long lines of allotment ‘veg’ parts
And the men and the horses with their carts.
I remember the rattle of steel tyres
On the smoo-thed, gra-nite, cobb-led stones
And the creak of many wooden cart bones.
I remember the turn of the century;
The death of Queen Victoria
And men, in khaki, from the Boer War..
I remember the volunteers for war,
Nineteen fourteen – the khaki ‘serge’ again;
Later a bier for a dead Captain.
Peace. Politicians easy platitudes,
“Remember all of our ‘Glorious Dead’.”
No legs, no face, no arms, no bread, no head.
National Strike – men and boys all backlit,
Speak-easy of Jarrow and marching lads,
Out-of-time, out-of-home, no benefit.
Picasso, Guernica, bombers and blood,
Sirens whining hell of black-crossed aircraft
Practicing their warcraft – freedom and flood.
Soon the tramping of voluntary men
Clad in khaki and black ammunition boots,
Crunching on the cobbles, striking sparks then.
Bloody wagons and white-faced clowns
Without makeup, no fake laughs only frowns,
Out of Dunkirk they came, wounded, living.
A bomber came and hit a factory;
The funeral courtege meandered passed –
Civvies and an old ‘Ell Dee Vee’.
Whispers and bits of talk, the cities bombed
And a new verb, ‘to Coventrate’ – poor sods –
Flattened and fire-stormed and many dead bods.
Mulberry and Pluto went to sea, in
Blanched, concrete caissons and towed blockships,
All off to Normandy – June six, to win.
Hiroshima, Nagasaki deny
Them their data as tens of thousands die –
The testbeds for future nuclear warfare.
The war cools and no one talks war or fall,
Technological advances threaten all
With mutually assured destruction.
It is a MAD, mad world; the god’s jester
Shapes tables for talks – round, rectangular –
Too square for many and not enough SALT.
I remember moving, torn from my land,
One hundred and forty feet to the park –
Stand with kids and teens and the odd skylark.
Potterdyke, I hear, will move me again
One hundred and eighty feet ‘Round the Bend’
And stand me on my land; another trend.
What of now and the many ‘whens’ that went?
I wear this weatherworn, shabby tent
And serve man’s need to connect, with the earth.