Ian In England

Ian In England

The theme for this week’s JVG Radio Method is “Bags”

This is the last one from the UK and I will be back in the Australia and the studio next week.

So last one down the phone line for this year.

[audio:JVG_Poem20090913.mp3]

Bags

“Always have your bag ready” her mother instructed
“Your bag and your gas mask – never forget”
“If I’m not at home your grandma will help you”
“Your bag and your gas mask – never forget”

The young girl stared out on the smouldering rubble
Where neighbours once lived, where school friends once played
Even to a child, the unjustness apparent
Her side of the street close to unscathed

The end of the street by the factory gates
A crater consumed what remained of a car
A cat calmly ambled, a bird limp in its mouth
Another reminder that death’s never far

Throughout the city, a story repeated
Factories, houses, bombs rained by the ton
Coventry burned, its centre in ruins
As hundreds of fires converged into one

Children, in thousands, sent alone to the country
Excited, bewildered, entrusted to strangers
Labelled like parcels and packed onto trains
Torn from their families but freed from the dangers

“Always have your bag ready” her mother instructed
“Your bag and your gas mask – never forget”

The old cathedral remains, though gutted and roofless
Devoured by the flames that claimed much of the town
The spire stands defiant – as though giving the finger
To those so determined to see it razed to the ground

Preserved, a memorial to reconciliation
A way to move on for those destined to live
But the victims, the hundreds, who share the one grave
Granted neither the chance nor the choice to forgive

A life nears its end in a Birmingham home
The blitz resurrected, seven decades on
The wail of the sirens, the whistle of bombs
An old woman retreats to a world long since gone

She stares out her window, long to the distance
Her bag packed and ready should they come, even yet
She stares out her window, to the distance and distant
Her bag packed and ready – she did not forget

© Copyright 2009 Ian Bland

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