Final things walk home with me through Chiswick Park,
Too much death, disaster; this year
All the children play at cripples
And cough along with one foot in the gutter.
But now my staircase is a way to bed
And not the weary gulf she sprinted down for doorbells
So far gone on with the child a-thump inside;
A buffet through the air from the kitchen door that sticks
Awakes a thumb-size fly. Butting the rebutting window-pane
It shouts its buzz, so I fling the glass up, let it fly
Remembering as it skims to trees, too late to swat,
That flies are polio-whiskered to the brows
With breeding-muck, and home
On one per cent of everybody’s children.
So it is the week when Matron curfews, with her cuffs,
And I draw back. My wife, round as a bell in bed, is white and happy.
Left to myself I undress for the night
By the fine bright wires of lamps: hot tips
To burrowing cables, the bloodscheme of the house,
Where flame sleeps. That,
With a shallow on the mattress from last night,
Is enough to set me thinking on fired bones
And body-prints in the charcoal of a house, how
Darkness stands for death, and how afraid of sleep I am;
And fearing thus, thus I fall fast asleep.
But at six o’clock, the phone rings in—success!
The Sister tells me our son came up with the sun:
It’s a joke she’s pleased to make, and so am I.
I see out of the window it’s about a quarter high,
And promises another glorious day.