Aren’t you happy mum?

Nineteen ninety five. We did not know it was the last VE Day that mum would see. There was a party in the street. Mum was indoors crying.

Aren’t you happy mum? We won. That’s why we’re celebrating. We won, we won and you were there. It’s party time.

Don’t celebrate for me. It was not “fun”. A day of sad relief perhaps. It took my cousin, my uncle, your grandad for six years, his health for the rest of his life and what should have been my youth.

Twenty five years on and I see the celebrations on tv and remember mum and the others and I wonder.

Washing up

The ex-boxer looked down at his red thick-jointed hands emerging from the soapy water. So it had come to this. He shook his head, the spirit rising in his chest again. The door opened. “Hurry up Grandad, we want to go to the park!” He smiled and wiped his hands.

angels do not eat

angels do not eat
their lips for trumpets made
their whitest teeth a forgiving smile
their throats for His almighty fire

workers, flesh men and women,
need to eat for fuel and joy
food brings heat and sleep and sweat
preventing spirits fade

do not pay heroes with silver wings
though in our hearts they fly
do not pay with hands and drums
though our hearts beat because of them
pay what is right, pay what is just
do it while we still have time