Willowherb

willow

‘Willowherb,’ she says,
pointing to its flame
in all the roadside hedgerows.
‘The first flower to bloom
in London after the Blitz.’
nothing stays still in the past –
while Dad marched through
Italy at his end of the war
she was taken with the rest
of her school to the Regal cinema
to watch the opening of the camps,
Dachau, Bergen Belsen, Auschwitz.
No one could believe what they saw.
She hardly ever talks about it
but getting in and out of the car
takes a bit and sometimes things
come up you wouldn’t expect,
rolling out of the long grass,
old names with young faces
nodding from the past as she
points out willowherb, flaring
on both sides of the lane, memory,
burning like braziers, pokers
pulled flaming from the fire.

Tim Cumming
Pic Claire Palmer


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