David Lewis Paget
Poisonous Beauty - Poem by David Lewis Paget
The flowers grew from the craters where
The bombs ripped open the ground,
Back in that terrible time of war
When God in his heavens frowned,
I just remember destruction, piles
Of bricks where houses had stood,
And years along, new growth began
Where Airmen lay in the wood.
Their plane came down in the poplar trees
That had stood in a long, straight line,
Tearing a swathe of destruction through
Where we’d played in a former time,
And just beyond was the surgeon’s house
That had boasted a Roman Spa,
Now flat, and exposing the Roman Tiles
That survived the previous war.
I’d go down there with Priscilla, who
Lived out by the railway track,
We’d play our games in the cellars
That had lain open, since the attack.
I hadn’t taken much notice of
The flowers that grew in the weeds,
That sprang into life like mushrooms, when
The bombs had scattered their seeds.
Priscilla did, she would smell the scent
That had wafted up from the flowers,
And say, ‘I’ve never seen these before,
They’re new, they’re meant to be ours.’
She’d pick the flowers and take them home
And attempt to make them thrive,
But once removed from their sacred ground
They’d rarely stay alive.
I didn’t handle the flowers as much
So I wasn’t quite as ill,
When she went down with a jaundice that
The doctors couldn’t heal.
They tried their best and they traced it to
The flowers she’d taken home,
A level of radioactivity
Was the reason that they’d grown.
The ground has been cordoned off for good
With a special yellow tape,
While she and I are forbidden to go
To the place that was our escape.
They keep her tied to a wheelchair where
They attempt to hide her sores,
While I’m in a sort of cage since I
Grew skin like the dinosaurs.
24 September 2015
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