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Angela France: a poem

Poetry Makes Nothing Happen

- W.H. Auden

Let it make nothing happen more, this year,

so that a young girl

whose mail arrives early can read the book she's waited for

over breakfast and find a poem with blue depths and points

of light which she tastes in the back of her throat on the way

to work and walks a little slower than usual so that nothing

happens as she crosses the road because the guy in the 4WD

who was answering a call on his mobile already passed by.

Or so that a fighter sits up almost all night reading Rumi, trying

to understand death and blood, peace and love and sleeps

too late to be ready for the knock at the door so tells them

he'll follow after because he wants to hold his son and play

with his daughter and nothing happens as he kisses his children

because he isn't in the car when a government missile hits it.

Or so that a man, sleepless and pacing, picks up a book

from his wife's bedside and reads a poem casually

but finds lines stuck in his mind like burrs on a wool sock

like when he used to spend weekends relaxed and outdoors

so that he holds back on giving an order and extends

credit on a couple of loans so that nothing happens

to a lot of people that day who carry on going to work

and never even know that nothing happened.

Previously published in The Interpreter's House. Angela France is a Gloucestershire poet who has had poems published in many of the leading journals and has been anthologised a number of times. Her latest collection, The Hill, was developed into a live multi-media poetry show which Angela toured, funded by Arts Council England. Her next collection, Terminarchy, is due out from Nine Arches in Summer 2021. Angela teaches creative writing at the University of Gloucestershire and in various community settings. She runs a reading series in Cheltenham called "Buzzwords".


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