• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 07

An old story

An old story
Of survival and abandonment,
The man snatched away
By press gang,
By storm at sea,
By bullet or arrow.

Or besotted woman,
Or a panicked horse

Caught as criminal trying to feed
And clothe and house his woman
His girl child.

One of many other stories
Of too much burden for him to carry,
Too much failure to live with
couldn’t bear to stay,
had to drink,
Could not share to be homeless


They will survive,
Scrabbling to sell little finds,
And trivial skills
To sell small indignities
And in harder times,
To watch each other
Fouled for real money.


An old story

And hating each other for the imagined blame,
And clinging to each other
For the only hope.

And fearful of disease,
And expecting death.
And grateful for the smallest comfort