Before The War
Before the war in our hearts
We kissed on the platform.
The guard blew his whistle.
Wooden doors slammed shut
Minding our fingers.
My hand on your waist.
Your fingers on my shoulder.
Remembering other times
And our hands and hearts
And when I remember that now
I know it didn’t happen.
There were no steam trains
Long before you were born.
I didn’t wear a hat or a British Warm.
You didn’t wear an A line skirt
And a long woollen coat
And we weren’t afraid of babies.
There were plenty of things
We were afraid of
But not that. And we didn’t talk
About them anyway, so it didn’t matter.
It wasn’t as if they could get in the way.
There were no cheery porters
Carrying our bags for a tanner tip.
‘Blimey, thanks guvnor,
You’re a gent and no mistake.’
It wasn’t ever that way in our lives.
Django Reinhardt didn’t play as our Blue Train
Wheeled down to the Cornish Riviera
We didn’t take the Boat Train to the Continent
Via Harwich, tapping our feet in memory
Of Sidney Bechet on clarinet at the Trocadero
The night before; via all the places
Where once other heroes queued in line
Embarking or demobbed, waiting patiently
For their lives to begin again,
The ones that could.
So why do I remember it this way?
You’re still here. We are, maybe.
Who is it talking to me?
Why do I seem to see a woman’s face as if in fog
Sometimes until I look again
And there’s no-one there?
There never was.
Who is it calling to me, telling me be nice
It doesn’t matter, nothing does?
Only love. Take care.
Make love, take love while it’s there.
Call the ceasefire.
Agree terms, an honourable peace,
Even unconditional surrender
If you mean it. But stop the fighting.
Put up your bright swords
Put down your arms
Put your fingers on each other’s lips
And kiss. Do it now.
While your hearts are still bare.
(c) Carl Bennett 2014
Just to clarify, no, I haven’t had a massive bust-up with anybody. Quite the opposite. This is a poem. It’s a first take, down in one like a Saturday night cocktail. It probably needs a bit of tweaking. But like any fiction, while it might call to you and I hope it does it isn’t real. But as the other Bladerunner said right at the end of the film, then again, what is?