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Peace Teas, 1918 - by Kirsten Luckins

“Elsewhere, hardly another generation will see the shell-holes mortared up, the trenches smoothed out, the streets laughing with the good cheer of honest labour”. From ‘Under German Fire’,

When it’s all over, things will be

in rightful places. In the sidings

the strewn shreds, light as tobacco flakes

will re-wind into waggonloads of rope.

At The Willows, the wrought iron gates

will re-fuse their ornate tracery behind

the six-foot sleeper as it retracts

its oaken bulk back across Hartlepool Road.

As far away as Trimdon or Pudding Poke,

the soft fields will relinquish ordinance

they had tucked intact in their cleavage,

so it may be ruled ‘Property of the Kaiser’,

waggishly offered for collection in person.

The Baptist organ will fall dormant,

that one beautiful shell-struck chord

will re-coil into the smashed façade,

bricks darning the aperture.

Melodies will lie docile in the throats of pipes

waiting for instructions, like women

who have returned from factories to sit

beside the lit home fires, watching

for the demobbed in their former clothes.

Sons will be home by Christmas, fathers

sit once more in the carver, limbs

will re-attach to Belgian trees, barbaric Huns

will remain inside re-drawn lines,

medals will pinpoint all the right chests.

The black crude of Persia will flow

into our coffers, all coffins eventually

will be re-ordered into respectful avenues.

Trestle tables will take to our streets,

vindication will sweeten our cups of tea.

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