32 Hamilton Road, Dover, Kent

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

Shrapnel, the meaty smell of blood, fresh spilt
on granite stone that danced in evening light:
powder keg of silence, after the air raid.
that's all I recall of Hamilton Road.

Except the late, last rose that dried dull red.
still clinging to the trellis, almost dead.
Until the drudgery of war resigns
my mind to newsreels’ black and white designs.

There's cobble stones, cod liver oil, and school.
Ration books. Churchill, the outside loo,
dried Egg. blackouts, the warden shouting, " Lights!"
Digging for victory. And still more school.

          Comradeship, rationing, telegrams, and tears
          associated with the wartime years


Now I revisit number forty three
with slug-slime in my socks, and cuckoo spit
on shoes. Sea breeze in my hair, birds' song
in my ears. Nasturtiums rioting

down the bank: saffron scarlet, mixed
with bronze, manilla stained red. All married
in one self-seeded bed. Their buoyant beauty,
bursting with the market buzz of worker bees,

          And where that last dull rose held up its head
          remembrance has bloomed to watershed:


a thousand roses rocket up the stone: blush pink, pure white
and vibrant flame explode, while still more bees arrive,
bombard and blitz: ambrosia to sweeten ‘Daily Bread.’

          Dead flowers fell and fertilised new shoots,
          ashes returned to earth nourish the roots.


 

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