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In the End

At night we sealed the light in, to be safe.

There was music, and the sewing machine whirred.

We played on the rug with a painted wooden car,

Like the one Daddy used to drive, when there was petrol.


Now every night the warden was on his bike,

In the pitch black streets, checking the dark houses

In case the careless light was spilling out;

The rain on his rubber raincoat, smelling of the dark.


One time I stood in the garden in the night

And looking up; all the sky was blazing.

They are stars: Like daisies in the summer grass

My sister said; like marguerites, like daisies.


Because the lights escaped into the sky

We slept on a mattress under the oak table.

In her mask my sister looked like Mickey Mouse.

It was green and metal and rubber smell

Over my face. I screamed in it, breathless.


This was all because; but one day there was commotion;

Fussing and dressing in coats, and going out into the night.

My aunt pulled me up by the arm on the trolley bus platform.

We kneeled on the seat, and the stars had fallen down.


All the blaze of the sky was caught in the trees.

The windows were full of light spilling onto the people.

My aunt said ‘don’t worry, because it’s all over now.’

The mad people were happy and singing,

Nobody giving a thought to what might come after.

Childhood memorieswartime

◄ Pursue Transparency

Five Thirty am ►


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Ian Whiteley

Fri 29th Mar 2013 11:01

I'll just add my own praise and salutations to what everyone else has said - a brilliant and evocative piece Freda - LOVED IT!

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Freda Davis

Fri 29th Mar 2013 10:54

Thanks to all for your lovely comments. I have been thinking lately that inspiration is very much about having the motivation and patience to allow those caverns in the back of our minds to give us access to our memories and thoughts. It's great when WOL gives us the opportunity to get this kind of lovely feedback.

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Thu 28th Mar 2013 22:25

I have to agree with everyone, and I cannot add anything to what has already been said... And yes, thank you Winston for posting the link to Freda's fabulous poem!

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Harry O'Neill

Thu 28th Mar 2013 16:44

Don`t know how I missed this one - marvellous!

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Dave Bradley

Thu 28th Mar 2013 13:28

This wonderful poem has just been mentioned on a discussion thread about poems relating to childhood. I missed it first time round and am glad to have been re-directed to it. Winston says on the thread that it is one of the best he's ever seen posted on WOL, and I can but agree.

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Anthony Emmerson

Thu 15th Dec 2011 21:34

This is wonderful Freda, and all the more powerful for being seen through the confused eyes of a child. It appeals to all the senses and puts the reader into the fragile memory you have created. It has a slowly meandering pace, which fits the voice perfectly. Subtle yet exquisitely detailed. A richly rewarding read.



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Lynn Dye

Wed 14th Dec 2011 23:04

I agree with everyone else here, Freda. It's truly a marvellous read.

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Rachel Bond

Wed 14th Dec 2011 22:15

wow i love this what a great read.

We kneeled on the seat, and the stars had fallen down.

All the blaze of the sky was caught in the trees.

The windows were full of light spilling onto the people.

My aunt said ‘don’t worry, because it’s all over now.’

just a selection from a piece packed with sensually evoking memorabilia like a living museum.
absolutely smashing x

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Julian (Admin)

Wed 14th Dec 2011 18:15

Wonderful, evocative, child's-eye view. I remember the smell of the gas mask my mother kept under the stairs years after the joyful madness you describe; uncertain of what came after, as you say.

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Wed 14th Dec 2011 14:46

This is a very fine poem Freda - a piece of history also.

I love the way you appeal to all the senses, as Greg remarks. I also love the way you give it to us through the innocence of a child's eye. The lights in the sky are beautiful but to the reader would represent something totally different. That is what strikes me most about this powerful poem. The innocence pitched against all that horror. I don't think I've ever read anything quite like it before. This needs putting in a war anthology. Not many people could write with this knowledge or experience.

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winston plowes

Wed 14th Dec 2011 00:19

Yes, Freda. A magnificent piece form you this,
so many asides and childhood vividness. The rubber smell, the wooden car, the daisies, the war. loved it. Win x

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Greg Freeman

Tue 13th Dec 2011 23:59

This is one of the finest and most enjoyable poems I've come across on WOL in a long time, Freda. I love the way you focus on the light, and the stars - as well as the rubber smells!

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