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featured poet, Valerie Bridge


Valerie Bridge

Deben Beach: his blonde child 1943

The escape is a hillside of poppies
drifting onto the beach at Deben
where through the barb of wire,
skull and cross bones,
he sees this fat lorry tyre,
the tread as good and deep
as furrows in fresh-tilled earth.
The sun casts rich shadows
and as his friend lights his pipe,
the dare is exchanged.
 
He vaults the spikes;
with his twenty-three years
fear is a daily adventure.
Why worry, this field is mined
to deter the enemy, he is only
a caravan away from his partner
and her throaty accent, where
his blonde child plays by the steps.
 
Nothing can happen, it is
child’s play to rescue this.
It will save them from another
rationing week’s marginal
book-keeping, and as his hand
reaches out to get the feel
of the tread – he sees himself
fitting it – his foot slips.
 
He looks to his friend,
who removes the pipe from
his mouth to wave, shout
something he could not hear,
they tell her, as the poppies
and stones shower around him.
 

Valerie Bridge

in collection A Somersault of Doves, 2013, George MannPublications,
ISBN 978-1-9076401-2-4