World War II comes to XXI Heol Eglwys by Robert Minhinnick

Even without a blackout
There was not much to show.
A street of cottages and whitewashed pub
Well used to the art of dousing
Every trace of light.

You knew the Heinkel’s unique drone –
Big, angry maybug trapped in a shade –
Yet here was one lower, and faltering.

The Swansea bombs were a murmur at dusk
But this was the first you ever heard fall:
Thin steam from a kettle;
The whine of sap in a sycamore;
Mosquito’s itchy piccolo.

Under the table you felt the house’s gentle shift,
Making itself more comfortable.
A joint shuddered, perhaps a slate
Escaped its nail.

And the next morning
Stood out in the field staring into the crater
That 500 pounds of German dynamite had dug.

At the rim you found a cow’s horn
Polished like the haft of a walking-stick,
And noted the mattresses of roots, silver now,
In the wall of the pit.

‘If the buggers could aim,’ your mother had said,
Shaking the plaster out of the tablecloth,
‘They’d be dangerous.’

by Robert Minhinnick

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