family

Leighton Cemetery

Left there the corpses,

then the skeletons,

first alone, then to-

gether, their beloved

wives newly carved on

the head –

stone.

Left there the flowers

fade, made of nylon,

or decay, if alive once,

foil and cellophane

are blown away and

vase is

cracked.

The ground is pinned down,

there is nowhere to

be, only thin waves

lap each grave where we

wade to reach that door,

key-hole

free.

Let’s go down to the sea, like you used to, with Grandpa

We stretch for blackberries
In the sun, walking slowly
Along the bay, here to commemorate
But bereft of memory
The chilhood talks, the driftwood fire,
The sausages and sticks
Were too light to sink and
Be saved for deep sea divers
To find.

One lone tanker
Heaves past as we
Leave. Do its crew
Marvel at the sunset?
Probably not. Do we?
Yes, in our minds eye,
But our hearts are
Elsewhere, trawling,
Water and memories
But the catch
Is empty, the
Hoped-for treasure,
Through it slipped,
If it was ever there.

A Man Trapped, Now, Outside

Dew drops came

Thick, sticky

Things in the mist,

Gone as soon as

Seen, washed

In the morning rain.

Inside,

His sorrow bled his

Soul and gauged

The pupils deeper

Through his eyes,

Bored through brain.

Pain pools welled

Round these holes,

And bounced

The light back, blue,

Ungrateful at the

Interrupted shade.

Thoughts welled up

Inside his head,

Of loved ones

Crudely detached,

Cords severed,

Mid-flight.

The restaurant

Dimmed, she,

Opposite, receded

Into Silence, as

The Past caved

In, confining him

To Memory’s passages,

Flickering, beckoning,

Grim.

Occasionally, sounds,

From above,

Outside the cave,

Her voice, something

Trivial, no guidance

Through these tunnels,

Only proof of Present

Beyond his prison,

Past.

 

S.C.Alexander, died 14th June 2009, POW, River Kwai, 1942 to 1945

That skull there on

The pillow,

One two three we

Heave him up,

Belch,

One two three we

Let him down, down,

Death bubbles in his

Guts,

Fiddles the clockwork

In his heart.

A nappy smothers

Paper skin and knees hover, angling,

Buzzards above the

Wan skeleton, barely

Worth the fuss.

His eyes are lidded

And the curtain’s shut

But for the odd crack

Of Pain and Cricket,

Outside.

In they come, ‘The family’,

He mouths and seems to say,

As he lifts bone to

Palm, before the bridge

Breaks and his life flows

Off, prisoner no more,

Away.