Author: Michael Massey

All over the countryside we see the crumbling ruins of little houses.This poem takes a return journey to one such cottage.

All along the overgrown lane
poppies daub sparse grass,
and in bedraggled hedges
fuchsia weep tears of blood.

Drained of its people,
the cottage dies a slow death.
Across the sagging walls, rafters
lie like stripped ribs.

Chimney still stands,
as it did when smoke and heat
were sucked from the hearth,
when turf smouldered

on the lid of a bake-pot,
when spitting sticks sparkled
in the grate and the old people
sat staring into flames.

Books, copies, pencils
spread on the flowery oil-cloth
as children raced the light
dying in net curtains, dying

in a window alcove, dying
on geraniums, red as fuchsia,
red as poppies, blood-bright
against white wash.