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.

Views

My friends tell me they can see the sea
from their window.
Closer is harder, they say; in sight is in mind.
From my window, if I wipe it,
I see the other side of the cut through,
barred windows breaking up the brick facade.
I have never seen that nest before,
broken twigs, dropped feathers.
I back away from the window.
I do not want to frighten hope.

After the thunderburst

Only eagles and adult kites could ride out these winds; and the kites with difficulty. The sparrows, prey, remain motionless beneath palm fronds, an occasional shiver and shuffle of feathers betraying their location. Slower than it had arrived with a thunderburst, the rain slows and stops, the wind calms and in the sudden silence birdsong begins to rise again. Now, before the heat sweeps back in, or the southern storm once more, now is the time to find peace, or make peace, or rest, simply rest.