In Queen Square, London
A revised poem
We wait for a child sleeping after treatment
and have come to this quiet garden for respite.
The bench is chilled in the moist autumn air.
The Communard-beret’d path-sweeper approaches.
Where’s the plaque, I ask, that was here last time?
(It marked the place where a Zeppelin bomb
made a crater and narrowly missed a hospital.)
Leaves twitch and worry at the circular cover.
Council took it, he says, brushing them away.
It was the sort of care we’ve come to expect.
Why, they might even not report a giant asteroid
missing the earth by a mere million miles –
in case they rattle the brittle pots of anxiety
we’ve gingerly shelved at the back of our lives.
( Queen Square, London, hit by a bomb in 1915, this decorative square
is in front of the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery
and just round the corner from Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children )