Yet ghost prints are on our lawn
and wilderness is in the wood,
lurking in coughing fits of blood.
‘Annals of Cartmel’ 1872 by James Stockdale
Melanie from rural Bohemia, in the Czech republic,
Saving lives in Oldham. Fighting Covid
Like her grandparents fought the Nazis
like her parents fought the Russians.
After a 12 hour shift, she knew exactly
how the moisture hidden in the air awakens at dawn
Wet descends into the grass on her path home
To Jara and her two daughters.
The sun, even in England, even in Manchester,
Shows her face in a thousand lights,
Like wind blows on summer evenings.
The immense calm of night silences the roaring in her head
All those people, dead. She remembers the fire of the moon
rose over the forest at home, turning to face the full moon
she remembers her history: the Turks, Germans, Russians
seeking to occupy her land. And then, after the Prague spring,
the dangerous pleasures of transformation. The Sudetenland Czech again.
Here, where the industrial revolution began, she tames her restlessness
looks as a very English mist rises over the park beneath a waxing moon
In the silence she remembers wolves extinct in this country
the last dying near Chester
She hears, again, snippets of words she's used, speaking to relatives
about their loved ones.