Sirens. Eleanor Porter.

2 Jan


Sirens rise like the larks
who peel roundels out of sky
till the nest loops them down again.

A grey dawn, but whether clouds
or the pall of smoke, I am not sure.
It has been burning for days.

Engines, like red beetles, quench a patch,
but the sparks play leapfrog.
Charred earth scabs the heath.

One day after school we went grasshopper hunting.
I found one crouched half hidden in your hair,
your hair the colour of the summer grass –

when we left a lark spiralled in alarm,
appealing appealing to the blue light
above the smog smudge of the horizon.

It can be beautiful here –
when the late light slants across the grass
and the green trees murmur to their shadows,

the evening blooms with picnics
and the dying sun flares the tower blocks,
our lonely towers.

Day to day we piece the hours
out of traffic and pavements, boxed lives
held in the tarred and cemented suffocation of the city streets.

We are too used to sirens.
Fuming commuters clog the Middle Road,
smoke furs towards me, will the rain come?

Ash tastes like panic in my mouth.
How late has it become? Is it too late already?
The earth burns.

Car keys, house keys, heavy in my pocket
I turn away, you need your breakfast,
We have places to get to.

Eleanor Porter

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