I have this recurring dream. I’m standing in a kitchen,
there are people drinking wine, it’s late
and I haven’t said a word since my second drink.
Before all the hymns and Plantagenet kings,
the constitutions of bad wars, of shattered window-glass covered streets,
there was a slow and steady voice reciting from memory.
Not a word fallen or given up to the crowd.
These walls of men break and scatter.
Upturned riot shields used now to cradle cups of weak tea
and a grandmother raging, ranting. Her every word a dart
in the heart of those young fools, their lives
like a forgotten field of buried battle dead.
And waking I go to the window, open it,
find the air still and say nothing
to it about god’s miracles
or the little apocalypses flaring in the night.
Note from the author – I wrote this around the time of the riots last year but it’s also part of a sequence where I read a few poems by particular poets and then wrote. I did Dickinson, Raworth, both Fishers, Middleton, Auden and more. This poem was written in response to some Geoffrey Hill poems.