Empty Towns and Other Poems

 

Meeting the Resistance

In her twenties during World War II
she joined the Netherlands resistance

and cycled out to meet newcomers
dropped by parachute from British planes

and walked each one along country lanes
to a safe house between villages.

They could not hide from Nazi patrols,
so she dropped with her man on the grass

and arranged his hand upon a breast,
removing it after they had gone.

 

 

 

Empty Towns

It is as if a plague had hit
these little towns in northern France
and Belgium with few survivors
who stand on the roadside as an
international bicycle
race with 150
riders passes through, front and back
motorcycles and the team cars,
a helicopter overhead,
watched in an empty little town
by two or three inhabitants

 

 

 

Items Trapped in the Doors Cause Delays

1
A London friend with a broken leg
claims that he was hit by the Rolls-Royce
of a member of the House of Lords.

Another friend says that he was hit
by a schoolgirl on a bicycle.

2
After London’s tallest building, the Shard, opened
a BBC journalist recalled seeing its
architect, Renzo Piano, incognito
walking around outside, looking at the building.

I was not looking at the building, he replied,
I was looking at the faces of the people.