Thom Glover (Third prize)
St Paul’s School, London
After the Rain
We four; forefathers all, the chosen few.
Sit sickly, sticky, stiff and sore and sick, it’s heaped:
Four cubits deep of filth and thick fatigue.
We few: three sons, a father and our windswept wives.
The last alive: lost bastions of activity
Upon the swirling ocean of oblivion.
The murky deep, unsettled, bulging up
To cake a mucky tidemark, darkly black against
Our ark of gopher, sweating sap and stench.
Dull thud: the swollen bodies of a washed out world
And we collide. Remind us of our fellow men.
All, in whose nostrils was the breath of life, now gone.
Within the dingy craft, the creeping things
Grew fat and festered, feeding off the beasts and fowls,
Who shiver, sickened, cabined in the dirt.
Above, the sky lays thickly indecipherable
And days elide; we have but knots and notches here
To keep a beat, and mark the pace of our decay.
Why us? For father, Shem and I grow old:
We shake and shrink, sip putrid brittle breaths of mist,
All easily led, obedient, lacking strength.
The last, and we are oozing hour by hour away.
All else is deep-sea sunk. We linger on.
- Date February 9, 2015
- Tags 2002 Floods - Winning Poems