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CRASH VICTIM   (from New Spring)

If only she’d been warned these last few seconds

Of peace would be her last, she might

Have found some comfort, as swift death beckoned;

Even her Fate turned wincing from the sight,

As her frail, young frame flinched into metal,

Spun through her music, wrung, crushed, forbidden

Even the comfort of a foetal nod, to settle

Smouldering silently, unseeing and car-ridden,

For the last moments before her passing. Already

The bright blue of the coming summer’s sky

Seems full of promise to others, the future heady

With looking beyond all this. By and by,

Her form is changed, her somewhere-loved face

Finds itself bereft; what graced each step with flair,

Reduced to a rag-doll, the black, seductress lace

Of clothes no use now for fraying flesh and bloodied hair.

Unknowing flies already seek the sweet glaze

Which drapes her remains as she is borne

Beyond the theatre of her last memories, through the haze

To her labelled existence cold and forlorn.

APPLES   (from New Spring)

Collected in the last, hazy hues of that poignant summer

Which was to be our last, and left in their plastic basket in the yard,

Still resplendent and glowing with the life that flooded them with juice,

Ripe for use and expectant for their fate of wine or pie or jam,

They came to be our epitaph, a drama for our garden guests.

Two seasons they sat there, and all the world could watch

As through the tumbling oranges of autumn they browned;

And pecked by starving robins, they moulded ever more

Into the shape of their basket, and stroked by worsening frosts

They came to stand for our own swift drift to apartness.

Now with springtime I find them there still, drowned in black,

Their sharp reek recalling cider-flowing barbecues by dusk,

And nourishing the wildlife now swarming all through.

The shock is palpable; there’s no describing how strangely

I have come to find the positive in this year’s Spring.

PARVA SED APTA MIHI   (from Impressions of Rhodes)

A house of sun-baked, whitewashed walls,

In a leafy suburb of tree-top calls,

Sings its message from antique halls,

Strikes by friendly Roman letters,

Quicker to read than angular Greek,

The coloured tiles above closed shutters

Speak words of Latin, strange and sleek:

Parva sed apta mihi,

A proud indifference to status’ features;

Not every house can rank with Tivoli,

Nor every poet be Lucretius.

And though the right words often falter

Through endless drafts which never alter,

Forget it, next year maybe Malta.

© Copyright Paul David Holland 2017