Death at Christmas

She fell face forward

Onto the wet pavement

And she was dead.

And her face was blue

When they rolled her over

As blue as the ocean in winter,

And her daughter screamed

Howled into the glittering street

Full of hopeful shoppers

All of them deaf to her moans,

All of them shrouded in wool

And Christmas fear.

And her aged face was dented

By the grey slab

And there was nothing to be done

And there was nothing to be said

Silence in the School

Today I was an explorer
And measured the depths of my thoughts with a plumb line
I jumped into the abyss
I reached for the tip of the greenest tree

Today I paced the corridors
And heard my hollow footsteps on the cheap linoleum
I watched a hundred girls whispering with their inky fingers
I listened to the tapping of their keyboards

Today I heard silence for the first time
And I realised that the sound was thunderous
I realised that the backdrop is more than a landscape
I remembered something I had forgotten

Today the playground died
And skipping ropes lay coiled like pythons in deference to the peace
I saw a mirage over the pitted tarmac
I saw the breeze push paper round the classroom

Today I smelt the grass
And felt the hum of living
I put my ear to the classroom wall
And I heard the sound of silence