Complex Signals

I read this last night at the Cafe Poets first meeting in Halesworth Library, after the usual meeting place, ‘Pinkys’ had been burnt in a serious fire.  Given the current heat wave it was like reading in a sauna!   It was a follow up to my other longer poem that I also read, ‘Back Amongst The Rangoons’, (which is elsewhere on this site).  ‘Complex Signals’ is a sixty-nine year event firmly marked in my memory.  Mike and I were both five years old when the lorry hit him.


After the single knock

she grabbed her son’s hand,

held it high,

as if unwillingly he had been dragged there

down the street she always forbade him –

the street she had grown up in –

to a long ignored door

that opened to a single act.


A Sunday dress on a weekday morning

arms miming an unseen burden

heavy with a slow dignity of grief

she invited them to view her dead son.

Keenly the boy moved forward

to check for tyre marks on his friend

and explore his new condition,

surprised to be jerked sharply back

to the uneven blue-black pavement.


He memorised its diamond pattern

as the women faced in silence.




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