Nan told me about the day the war was won,
How they stood on the back step shading their eyes from the sun,
How the aeroplanes came howling, howling by,
Scorching black patterns in the August sky.
After the aeroplanes, the song of the birds –
After the birds,
The war grew in her garden – London Pride,
Poppies enough to drug the days away,
An air-raid shelter for a garden shed –
Tug at the door, feel the hot air burst free,
Sour with old earth, and poison for the weeds –
Those rusty spades, those trapped and shrivelled spiders
Hanging in corners.
I was blasted in that garden before I grew,
A disregarded child who knew
Nothing, heard nothing, part of the scenery,
One with the nodding of foxgloves, the buzz of the bee.
I was never real at all, just one of their dreams,
Caught in the aftermath,
A kind of lie.