Category Archives: Poem

TAVISTOCK ROAD 9.47 a.m. Number 30 Bus

Hasib Hussain migrant son, English born
barely an adult, loved by his mother;
reported him missing later that night.
Police typed his description in the file
and matched his clothes to fragments from the scene.
A hapless victim or vicious bomber ?
Child of the ‘Ummah’ waging deadly war.
Seventy two black eyed virgins waiting
in jihadist paradise just for you.

Hasib Hussain

 

 

 

 

 

Red double-decker bus, number thirty,
going from Hackney Wick to Marble Arch;
stuck in traffic, diversions everywhere.
Driver pulls up next to a tree lined square;
the Parking Inspector, Ade Soji,
tells the driver he’s in Tavistock Road,
British Museum nearby and the Square.
A place of peace and quiet reflection;
the sad history of war is remembered;
symbols to make us never forget death;
Cherry Tree from Hiroshima, Japan;
Holocaust Memorial for Jewish dead;
sturdy statue of Mahatma Gandhi.
Peaceful resistance that drove the Lion out.
Freedom for India but death for him.

Sudden sonic boom, bus roof tears apart,
seats erupt with volcanic force upward,
hot larva of blood and tissue rains down.
Bloodied road becomes a charnel-house scene;
disembodied limbs among the wreckage,
headless corpses; sinews, muscles and bone.
Buildings spattered and smeared with human paint
Impressionist daubs, blood red like the bus.

30-bus-tavistock-square

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jasmine Gardiner, running late for work;
all trains were cancelled from Euston Station;
she headed for the square, to catch the bus.
It drove straight past her standing at the stop;
before she could curse aloud – Kaboom !
Instinctively she ran, ran for her life.
Umbrella shield from the shower of gore.

On the lower deck, two Aussies squeezed in;
Catherine Klestov was standing in the aisle,
floored by the bomb, suffered cuts and bruises
She limped to Islington two days later.
Louise Barry was reading the paper,
she was ‘shit-scared’ by the explosion;
she crawled out of the remnants of the bus,
broken and burned, she lay flat on the road,
the world of sound had gone, ear drums had burst;
she lay there drowsy, quiet, looking up
and amazingly the sky was still there.

Sam Ly, Vietnamese Australian,
One of the boat people once welcomed here.
A refugee, held in his mother’s arms,
she died of cancer, before he was three.
Hi Ly struggled to raise his son alone;
a tough life, inner city high rise flats.
Education the smart migrant’s revenge,
Monash Uni and an IT degree.
Lucky Sam, perfect job of a lifetime;
in London, with his one love, Mandy Ha,
Life going great until that fateful day;
on the seventh day of the seventh month,
Festival of the skilful Weaving girl.

Three other Aussies on that damned bus;
no serious physical injuries,
Sam’s luck ran out, in choosing where to sit.
His neck was broken, could not breath alone;
his head smashed and crushed, fractured bones and burns
Wrapped in a cocoon of coma safe
This broken figure lying on white sheets
in an English Intensive Care Unit
did not seem like Hi Ly’s beloved son;
but he sat by Sam’s bed in disbelief,
seven days and seven nights of struggle,
until the final hour, when it was done.

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EDGEWARE ROAD STATION 9.17 a.m. Circle Line

Mohammed Sadique Khan, the oldest one.
Perhaps the leader, at least a mentor.
Yorkshire man born, married with a daughter
Gently spoken man, endlessly patient,
worked in the Hamara, Lodge Lane, Leeds,
Council-funded, multi-faith youth Centre;
and the local Primary school, in Beeston.
No-one could believe this of Mr Khan;
well educated, caring and very kind
Where did he hide his secret other life ?

Wise enough to wait for the second train.
Two for the price of one, a real bargain.
Westbound second carriage is blown away,
a commuter blasted from the platform,
hurled under the wheels of the east bound train.
Moon Crater holes, the walls pitted and pocked;
a sparse dark-side landscape with black, black air.
The ripped and shredded metal bursts free
like a surprising party popper;
Steel curlicues corkscrew through wood and glass.
Mass is made atomic in the closed space.
Roasting meat and Auschwitzed cremation stench
saturates the already murky air.
Our human kindling feeds the greedy fire;
Heads alight like medieval torches;
Fiery liquid skin drops from the faceless;
Punk afro hair is cauterised and singed.
Heat intensity, like a wayward iron,
scorches clothes, fuses fibres together.
Seven people escape this inferno;
many die in later days, badly burned,
and everyone there will live a scarred life.

Edgeware Road bombing

 

 

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Filed under Death, Grief, Poem, Seasons

KINGS CROSS STATION 8.56 a.m. Piccadilly Line

Many named Lyndsey Germaine, Jamaican,
living with his wife and child in Aylesbury,
laying low, never visited the Mosque.

Buckinghamshire bomber known as Jamal,
clean shaven, wearing normal western clothes,
annoyed his neighbours with loud music.
Samantha-wife converted and renamed,
Sherafiyah and took to wearing black.
Devout in that jet black shalmar kameez.
Loving father cradled close his daughter
Caressed her cheek and held her tiny hand
He wondered what the future held for her.

Station of the lost and homeless people,
where you can buy anything at a price.
A place where a face can be lost forever;
where the future’s as real as faded dreams.
Below the mainline trains, deep underground
Piccadilly lines cross the River Thames
Cram-packed, shoulder to shoulder and standing,
the train heading southward for Russell Square,
barely pulls away from Kings Cross Station,
when Arash Kazerouni hears the bang,
‘Almighty bang’ before everything stopped.
Twenty six hearts stopped beating that moment.
But glass flew apart in a shattering wave,
followed by a huge whoosh of smoky soot.
Panic raced down the line with ice fingers
touching and tagging the living with fear.
Spine chiller blanching faces white with shock.

Gracia Hormigos, a housekeeper,
thought, I am being electrocuted.
Her body was shaking, it seemed her mind
was in free fall, no safety cord to pull,
just disconnected, so she looked around,
saw the man next to her had no right leg,
a shattered shard of bone and gouts of blood,
Where was the rest of his leg and his foot ?

Level headed ones with serious voices
spoke over the screaming and the sobbing;
Titanic lifeboat voices giving orders;
Iceberg cool voices of reassurance;
We’re stoical British bulldog voices
that organize the mayhem and chaos
into meaty chunks of jobs to be done.
Clear air required – break the windows now;
Lines could be live – so we stay where we are;
Help will be here shortly – try to stay calm.

John, Mark and Emma introduce themselves
They never usually speak underground,
averting your gaze, tube train etiquette.
Disaster has its opportunities;
Try the new mobile, take a photograph;
Ring your Mum and Dad, bloody battery’s flat;
My network’s down; my phone light’s still working
Useful to see the way, step carefully.

Fiona asks, ‘Am I dreaming all this?’
A shrieking man answers her, “I’m dying!”
Hammered glass finally breaks, fresher air;
too late for the man in the front carriage.
London Transport staff in yellow jackets
start an orderly evacuation
The mobile phones held up to light the way.
Only nineteen minutes in a lifetime.

kings-cross-workers

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LIVERPOOL STREET STATION 8.51 a.m. Circle Line

Shehezad Tanweer was born in England.
A migrant’s child of hope and better life,
dreaming of his future from his birth.
Only twenty two short years on this earth.
In a madrassah, Lahore, Pakistan,
he spent twelve weeks reading and rote learning
verses chosen from the sacred text.
Chanting the syllables, hour after hour,
swaying back and forth with the word rhythm,
like an underground train rocking the rails,
as it weaves its way beneath the world,
in turning tunnels in the dead of night.

Teve Talevski had a meeting
across the river, he knew he’d be late.
Damn trains they do it to you every time.
But something odd happened while he waited
A taut-limbed young woman sashayed past him
in a forget-me-not blue dress of silk.
She rustled on the platform as she turned.
She turned to him and smiled, and he smiled back.
Stale tunnel air pushed along in the rush
of the train arriving in the station.
He found a seat and watched her from afar.
Opened his paper for distraction’s sake
Olympic win exciting like the smile.

Train heading southwest under Whitechapel.
Deafening blast, rushing sound blast, bright flash
of golden light, flying glass and debris
Twisted people thrown to ground, darkness;
the dreadful silent second in blackness.
The stench of human flesh and gunpowder,
burning rubber and fiery acrid smoke.
Screaming bone bare pain, blood-drenched tearing pain.
Pitiful weeping, begging for a god
to come, someone to come, and help them out.

Teve pushes off a dead weighted man.
He stands unsteady trying to balance.
Railway staff with torches, moving spotlights
jerk and jolt, catching still life scenery,
lighting the exit in gloomy dimness.
They file down the track to Aldgate Station,
Teve passes the sardine can carriage
torn apart by a fierce hungry giant.
Through the dust, four lifeless bodies take shape
and disappear again in drifting smoke.
It’s only later, when safe above ground,
Teve looks around and starts to wonder
where his blue epiphany girl has gone.

Liverpool St Bombing

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Seasons of Terror: Part III Summer in London – Prologue

Hyde Park weekend of politics and pop,
Geldof’s gang of divas and mad hatters;
Sergeant Pepper only one heart beating,
resurrected by a once dead Beatle.
The Virgin, Queen and Irish juggernauts;
The Entertainer and dead bands
re-jigged for the sake of humanity.
The almighty single named entities
all out for Africa and people power.
Olympics in the bag, a Waterloo
of celebrations in the street that night
Leaping and whooping in sheer delight
Nelson rocking in Trafalgar Square
The promised computer wonderlands
rising from the poisoned dead heart wasteland;
derelict, deserted, still festering.
The Brave Tomorrow in a world of hate.
The flame will be lit, magic rings aloft
and harmony will be our middle name.

On the seventh day of the seventh month,
Festival of the skilful Weaving girl;
the ‘war on terror’ just a tattered trope
drained and exhausted and put out of sight
in a dark corner of a darker shelf.
A power surge the first lie of the day.
Savagely woken from our pleasant dream
al Qa’ida opens up a new franchise
and a new frontier for terror to prowl.

Howling sirens shatter morning’s progress
Hysterical screech of ambulances
and police cars trying to grip the road.
The oppressive drone of helicopters
gathering like the Furies in the sky;
Blair’s hubris is acknowledged by the gods.
Without warning the deadly game begins.

The Leviathan state machinery,
certain of its strength and authority,
with sheer balletic co-ordination,
steadies itself for a fine performance.
The new citizen army in ‘day glow’
take up their ‘Support Official’ roles,
like air raid wardens in the last big show;
feisty yet firm, delivering every line
deep voiced and clearly to the whole theatre.
On cue, the Police fan out through Bloomsbury
clearing every emergency exit,
arresting and handcuffing surly streets,
locking down this ancient river city.
Fetching in fluorescent green costuming,
the old Bill nimbly Tangos and Foxtrots
the airways, Oscar, Charlie and Yankee
quickly reply with grid reference Echo;
Whiskey, Sierra, Quebec, November,
beam out from New Scotland Yard,
staccato, nearly lost in static space.

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Anna Karenina

You were no Eve of Russian literature

like Pushkin’s precious Tatyana.

You were no young, innocent, provincial girl

seduced by cynical Onegin, that bon vivant

corrupted by modern European values.

You were no mysterious Russian soul

brimful of essential purity and self-sacrifice –

with a love of pain and pure disdain of happiness.

 

Tatyana resisted all temptation, refusing

to take flight, rejecting the man she loved.

She was too good to be true; but you, Anna

what a pickle you got yourself in, choosing erotic sin.

You could share an affair with dashing Vronsky

elope with him and leave behind your husband

abandon your beloved son, Alexei.

 

But these were not the dreadful choices

sealing your tragic fate, my dear Anna.

It was those damned feelings you chased

all based on the sin of selfishness.

You fed on romance, passion and desire.

Your hot-hunger was insatiable, a fire

rip-roaring through restraint and all decorum

You sweated and panted wild for orgasm.

 

They say you’re a ‘drama queen’; heartless and mean

a woman undone by excess, always longing to undress

nakedly making grand errors of judgement.

By ignoring Tatyana’s fine example, you certainly forgot

there will always be those who tot up the ledger.

Your blood debt was owing, it had to be paid.

 

You saw the light at the end of the tunnel –

cool down, Anna, let the raw feelings subside

be watchful, wary and ever-ready to step aside

let the moments of  menace and gloom drain –

it might just be an oncoming train is due.

 

© M.L.Emmett 2016

greta garbo anna k 4

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Filed under Death, Family, Grief, Love, Poem, sadness

Devotion ~ For Molly ~

There cannot ever be, for me

an emotional peak so high

and beyond all other experience

so much my own, entirely.

A speechless secret, my unsaid words

preserving its wonderful wholeness

the not-telling, keeping it so precious

too precious for me, I fear, to shatter

the silence of its perfection.

 

The blood bond between us

holds no hidden barriers

in this amniotic floating universe

shock-absorbing all the outer world

nutrient rich, nourishing your growth.

My voice vibrating, rippling

in your sonic breathless bubble.

My body, in all its actions

and motions, marking your time

rolling and turning your shaping.

 

Your rhythm pressing my organs

punching and kicking, demanding space

Immersed in my body’s womb-core

snuggling safe and deeply nestled

in our sheer and utter intimacy.

I give you all I’ll ever have

my blood, my breath, my everything

beyond all my knowing and imagining

this is a devotion most terrible and sublime.

 

© M.L.Emmett 2016

Cavity Chaos laser light

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Filed under Anatomy & Physiology, Family, Feminism, Hope, Love, New Child, Poem

Possibility

(for Jill Jones)

bigbang

Each day is always possible

I fling myself at chances.

 

My horizon pulses its limitless light

splitting atoms, shattering the white.

 

Silver birches shiver spotlights

whispering forgotten lines in my ears.

 

Feathered clouds soar and skim

as I taste the vast blue skin of sky.

 

I catch the words beneath the waves

each tide of syllables and song.

 

I’m sand-etched and scratch at

language lost and left on the shore.

 

I make for the glowing yellow moment

and live in metaphor.

 

© M.L.Emmett 2016

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Filed under Australian Poetry, Hope, Poem

In the Bluebell Wood

26th April 2007, my father’s 77th birthday
between 0100hrs & 0945hrs, my brother died.

So you were backed into a corner
the one where honour meets death
and by the light of a crescent moon
you gently eased the black hose
between the exhaust pipe
and the passenger windows
air gaps stuffed
with a Christmas scarf
of creamy cashmere wool
sealing your coffin of a car

Seat back flat you lay
watching the drifting clouds
of your last Spring night
you heard the haunting calls
from Rotherfield woods
saw the blink of the bat’s wing
on the edge of sight
heard the hoot of white faced owl
jarring the quiet night
and the gentle rumble
of the old Renault’s engine

That single molecule of Oxygen
locked you away
from fresh life breath
the steady pulse of the motor
rocking you asleep.

Bluebell dancing morning
sweet scented and warm
two ladies out riding
find you alone and hiding
from the day.

© M.L.Emmett

Bluebells in Greys Court 2

 

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Filed under Death, Grief, Love, Poem

Sonnet for a Suicide

(inspired by Robert Pinsky)

Morning sun on his face
steady motor murmur
vibrating the hose

Bluebells clamber
over the hill’s top –
nothing to remember

only the same engine noise
that keeps making the same sounds
under his head poised

and pulsing the same beat
no-one to say his name,
no need, no-one to praise him

only the engine’s voice – over
and over, running under him.

© M.L.Emmett

My brother killed himself on 26th April 2007 in a Bluebell Wood.
He died of Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Reposted to honour him.

Bluebells in Greys Court 2

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