War-time Holiday


We had walked to the end of the glass arcade –

my auntie was showing us bomb-damaged buildings –

when a man with a rope in his hand made us stop.


He said, “Stay where you be.” Then he played tug-o’-war

with a house and it grumbled, then kneeled and lay down.

It gave a last shiver and spat out red dust.


Its bones were all broken and poking out, black.

I remember its smell of wet soot and old rags

and how somebody cried for the house that had died.



© Sue Lansdell