New Writing In Various Forms, edited by Michael Blackburn

The Review is now on permanent sabbatical.

Many thanks to those who contributed.

The rest, as the man said, is silence.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Local History - a Poem by John Simons

Driving the A15 at night is like flying over Poland.
You see all the towns glowing on the plain:
Lincoln, Gainsborough, Brigg.
Poznan, Gdansk, Torun, Lodz, Wroclaw.
And then you see the bumps in the fields
And the buried villas and deserted villages of Lincolnshire.
And then you think of the buried names:
Lincoln Lindum Colonia, Brant Broughton Briga,
Kirton Linsdey Inmedio, Broughton Pretorium
Poznan Posen, Gdansk Danzig, Torun Thorn, Lodz Littmannstadt
And for Wroclaw, astonishingly, Breslau
Where the stripey-capped students,
Fraternal, cicatrised and Latinate,
Sat bolt upright in their seats and cheered
When Brahms rolled out Gaudeamus igitur.
And then you think of the buried boys
From Boston Lincolnshire and Boston Massachusetts,
From Lincoln Lincolnshire and Lincoln Queensland,
English, American, Aussies, Poles turning Germany into Poland -
Blacksmiths with mallets made of TNT -
The buried metal waiting for the detectors
In celeriac fields near Horncastle or Banovallum
Or tough grassed dunes near Gydinia or Goteshafen
Where the panzers first crossed the border
And everybody took the boat to Hel.
There was no rejoicing for them while they were young.
And I see them navigating the great plain
And steering by the fires of burning cities.
And in the houses from the Roman ridge
Twenty thousand Poles are fast asleep,
And, smiling, dream of history.

John Simons is Dean of the Faculty of Media, Humanities and Technology at the University of Lincoln. His interests vary from mediaeval history to cricket and animal rights. His publications include a monograph, Animal Rights and the Politics of Literary Representation.