York in Poetry: Blitz

Posted on 25 November 2012 | Poem, Audio

for Marie and Doug

Beneath the stairs
a flask of cold tea, gas masks.
The blast
and my sister combed and combed her hair.
The smell of gas
the judder, the thud
then silence
sudden and suspect
as if destruction might come back.
I picked my scab.
The police – a bomb in the street
I grabbed the cat,
my comics in a carrier bag,
chestnuts, ammonites.
My father’s tic, roofs burning
and what I’d never seen before
nimbus glowing orange-red,
Pickering Terrace no longer there
- gone the high wall we climbed for a dare
and I thought of those I saw each day
on my way to school,
the heat seared my face yards away.

- Don Walls