Gillian Barton

Ballad – untitled 

Under the bridge at the river
Titus watched the water inflamed
One hand fixed in a stiff black glove
in the other a switch-blade

She limped along to the tumult
where the river swallowed the train
 ‘This be the place we meet,’ she said,
‘and what is traced will remain.’

A youth lurched towards them crying
‘I’m Lucien!’ Sirens screamed loud
and reaching for them hefell, he fell
a flower to the ground

‘This is our son,’ said Cora
‘He was on that train tonight
Give up your hatred, your anger, your blade
He’s our boy – the bringer of light.’

‘Mercy, forgive me,’ said Titus
Some lost, some wounded, more dead
lie like the moon in its final phase
and the father held his son’s head

‘I don’t justify what wounds me
Our sorrow is carried away
on the river that gave us our darlin’
and the grass is green as the grave

I found a place in the sun
He disappeared into shade
The dead were buried that winter
But the dark, the dark I’ll not name.’


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