The Village

Stand still.

The children are calling,

Muffled voices

In these dark rooms;

Near the  broken shelf,

By the copper’s bulk,

Scratching on slates.

This room was a school.

It says so, in chalk:

Boys. Girls.

And this – well –

It is locked.

The shadows lean in,

Ragged curtains shake.

There is grime on the glass.

Dust in the light.

Families lived here,

Above the silvered boards.

They flogged the earth.

Flump, a spade thrust

Into the  dark earth.

To make a weary bob.

Spuds and kale and shiny beans.

Plant and reap.

Reap and sell.

Now vines thread up.

To the filtered light.

The families have gone.

Well, almost

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3 thoughts on “The Village”

  1. Echo Dean and Mark’s sentiments. That ‘grime on the glass, / dust in the light’ is such a sharp cut of sun through the mind. The last lines, ‘the families have gone. / well, almost’, lets the ghosts in.

  2. you capture that feeling in your poems well, John – that sort of death (almost) after life; ghostly presences, hung-over from a time of joy long gone. How very Russian of you! And Henry Jamesian

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