I spent a very inspiring day at the Gosport Gallery meeting local writers for one to one discussions about their work. I was really impressed by the quality and ambition of their writing. Here’s an example –
Zillebeke – Rain Lashes
(Inspired by: Lithograph, ‘Rain Lake 1918’, by Paul Nash)
by Dorothy Collard
In this stark, stump-splattered hell
where broken boughs, as if in prayer,
rent and beseech the lethal air,
Staggering over slatted tracks
that slide above new-cratered mud,
men, silent, withdrawn,
slither like snails to uncharted gloom.
Rain slants through black night’s light,
beats tattoos on tin helmets,
funnels heaven’s tears to curtained blindness,
whips wet cold to every bone.
Clothes, left or whole, give no protection.
Precious possessions now spades, not weapons.
Blessed skills –
a shuffle forward, an eye’s view, the next breath …
No moon, no stars but scything rain
illuminates the blasted scene.
Cordite stenched with mud and blood
blights living lungs and brains.
Trailing in weary timelessness
soldiers stumble on, wondering ‘How?’
Not knowing where or why,
only the stinking, painful, fearful, ‘Now.’