I can never know the dread of

those who heard cut out doodle-bug;

the sadness those who saw the wheel

of bicycle slow turn atop

the bomb-site, handlebars mark of

grave under metal, dust and brick.


Mother, first time blitz siren heard

was wearing treat, her brand new dress;

on pavement she newspaper spread

and then lay down, air-raid prepared.


Father dug at The Rookeries

within the sound of Biggin Hill

when buried deep, just head revealed;

he lived because was rescued last.


I cannot know; they little spoke

of despairs, agonies and loss.


But rocket stillness, spinning wheel,

newsprint, clean dress, and soil to neck;

these they told and tales haunted me.



Used by permission of the author.

Stephen Kingsnorth

Stephen Kingsnorth (Cambridge M.A., English & Religious Studies), retired to Wales from ministry in the Methodist Church, has had over ...more