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Shash Trevett: a poem

Stone Walls

I remember the day the tanks rolled up

and we hid in that narrow room at the back

of the house. The birds fell silent.

In a moment of stillness we heard quite clearly

ek, do, teen, fire. Over and over, each shout

followed by a thud, each thud followed

by a crash, each crash and splintering

of our world amplified in that narrow space.

Glass shattered, timber collapsed. Dust

and frass danced in the air as the ceilings

blushed hot. I remember, over the boom

of the tanks, the thin tinkling of the piano

as bullets ricocheted off walls and door

frames. Our hearts paused. You and I

cowered on that floor, petrified.

It took an hour for the house to capitulate

in flames, so the neighbours said later

when they found us hardened into a stone

stillness. Although we returned many times

through the years to that room – on that day,

in that year, when the tanks had done

their job and moved away, we emerged

two bodies deadened to feelings

so cold, so numb, so walled in

that was our tragedy.

This poem is from Shash's pamphlet, From a Borrowed Land, which was published by The Poetry Business on 1st May 2021. You can find it here.

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