Scarborough

Now, over the top they go,

alone and nameless,

their downward flight

where rock drops sheer.

The bouquets tied to railings

die more slowly

as the empty husk of peace

sounds a song of grief to end

all love.

It’s a town that looks for dignity

in war.

Showcased like the plesiosaur

among ammonite graveyards

cool behind glass,

he’s an alumnus,

a boyish bust to mother,

a shock to the syllabus.

Wilfred Edward Salter Owen

has a blue plaque

on a tired white hotel

where poems were born in blood.

Did his rehab ward, his waiting room

have a view –

of tides relentless as shells,

their softness settling

only to lull?

In his silence

did seagulls slice deep through breath?

What called him beyond promontory,

bay and horizon,

like a lobster caged and craving

seas of fire?

And was all this, so postcard bright, so light and blue,

stolen without trace,

or did it guide him

home?

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