Free Verse 1


I was terrified to hear the

rumbles overhead and feel

the tremors and aftershocks.

Then, they came back

This time thrusting steel down to penetrate

our tunnels. Tearing regular scoops

up, up, up

as if a hand from a giant

was reaching from the sky, snatching its quarry

and momentarily drawing it level with

it’s eyes, like in the cartoons or the old advert for Chewits.

Then almost as quickly unclenching the fist in disappointment

allowing gravity to do its best.

Occasionally the magnesium flares broke through

and we cruelly had no coloured glass

It’s a primitive instinct; fight or flee

But in every species? Anyway, we definitely fled, and

unconsciously so.


it would not have looked like fleeing to you, I imagine.

I suppose if you were to multiply

the sheer number of us frantically scrabbling, then

the resulting energy would still be mightily impressive.

It’s not a vector quantity, but I can’t help feeling

the fact there was a definite flow pattern has to count

for something. It has to.

Like an army of peasants at the top of a tor

We tumbled in our own time frame down the cotil

At last, to a shallow gradient, the rumbles

different, rubber on tarmac – higher pitch

less throaty. This is the border.

Exhausted and relieved, here is refuge

Under a tidy green sky with dandelion vapour trails

and bedding plant clouds.

This’ll do for now guys. This’ll do for now

Overhead, the foxglove nodded in agreement.

Ralph 11/6/21