Two Museum Stores

Cobwebed black,
a hearse for dignitaries,
mildewed the harness
the dead horses wore.

Collapsed suspension
buried for many years
behind petrol tins,
a tram derailed permanently

amid a mess of tables,
bureau chairs, the lot
wood-wormed, the worms
longsince dead.

Old laughter, the echo,
a thumping good time
had at these tables.
The owners long dead.

Long past reform
a longtime before
a child left his desk;
his pens, his slate, his diary

remain. What became
of the laughter, what became
of the stern ideals
of an empire, still drawn

in the atlas of l8l2.
The furniture, the cars,
the cabs, all kept with ordnance,
shells a foot across

pointed hopelessly
into the long horizon.
The empty barracks tell
of their futile defence.

 

 

 

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