• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 07

The Pre-Raphaelites

didn't they love their idealised settings
patched blue skirt leans against orange
blond head explores, half-restless, half secure
red admiral sunbathes on russet jacket

crows like those populate the green
opposite St George's, our second home
where we wait for the S1 bus to take us back
to our suburban garden, good link to Victoria,

London, who is to say what's better
town or country, living then or now
to undergo treatment that you endure,

or suffer scarlet fever, smallpox, measles,
TB, diptheria, cholera, dying in childbirth
high infant mortality? people were poor but
sat outdoors in sunshine, the idealized setting

all that blah, all that back-breaking corn
water from the pump, a struggle to keep kids
clean & fed, fifty more years the War

that sky lights luminous fields as if a storm is brewing
could be a poster in a British Rail Waiting Room
you don't see many red admirals now, do you?