Dagenham, Inglaterra, 1934-1969


I looked at the penny in my hand 
three years before my grandmother was due 
You were the penny my great-grandad spent 
tossing you proudly while you blinked 
my grandfather clenched you in his clammy fist 
sent scuttering for a bag of broken biscuits 
father stuck you in one eye 
feigning for friends Lord Fauntleroy 
Now you blink no longer being blind 
Time opened your eyes to blow in thorns and sand 

Time lifted your lids to search and saw 
complacency grown fecund 
thrust in three wars - The Boer the Great the Second 
Great-grandad tossed his grenade at a Boer 
grandfather clenched curdling throats seared with gore 
father stuck bayonets through fat and through thin 
until they in turn smacked the dust in death’s grin – 
while you passed from pocket to purse till and shelf 
marking the years with your dumb vagrant self 
while you stayed pretty for thoughts and round 
wise plain honest and in for a pound 

I looked at you lying there in my hand 
should I accuse you? I asked 
accuse you for making it all seem such a farce? 
for passing through what you had not planned 
for waiting against the wailing and the dying 
against the tearing bleeding crying? 
Can I accuse the water for reflecting 
flying birds as I do you for passively accepting? 
you are mnemonic of our guilt 

I crouch and dig a hole and bury you 


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