Regret To Inform You: Eliza, March 1916
From a series of pieces in which I address my maternal grandfather, long dead before I was born. Eliza was his mother …
In her flint-walled cottage
your mother braces bowed shoulders,
searches dresser drawers.
Hands shaking, retrieves her blacks –
those she will wear for years
to mourn your loss. Off the village green,
the old church steeple trembles
in its timbers and reeded stone,
bells tolling, cracked clock face stopped.
And still, across the Channel,
the maw-trenched killing fields continue,
continue to open and swallow.