After a line by Dylan Thomas
and we, who had not been born yet,
were gathering pace; and our parent’s first awareness
strangled, overburdened, malnourished.
The dawn yet to be born when we would see
through their eyes, before it dawned on us,
there are other lives lived than ours.
Indiscriminate bombs that fell in the war
smashed mantelpieces, whatnots, plaster saints —
ordained with their dust our parents.
— Passed down this reverence for photographs
of black bombazine grandmothers, grandfathers
stiff in homburg, stud collar —
left us the breakage, a tile pattern, the mystery
of reasons for these still being hung here
in our reconstituted homes.
And we follow it back, to da-do rails, huge, wooden
fire surrounds, dressers, pendulum clocks:
to Victoriana rendered, displaced
to William Morris Laura Ashleyed.
of grab and raid, the bombed-out bran-tub
of our genetic dramas.