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My words (a random display of my own creative writing)

When a bomb goes off


This is my solitary contribution to National Poetry Writing Month. I have no idea where it came from, apart from the end of my pen:

The feathered shadows of the grass now lie

Against the moon. Its light is falling on

The shivering lake. And soon I shiver too.

I can’t escape the flat and sober calm

Of voices from the news, that follow me

As I run, stumbling, screaming to the stars,

My hand upon my growing, beating belly.

I fall face down upon the sucking mud

And dig my fingers in the slime.

I hold on now as bodies in the streets

Let go of life, and sirens scream among

The bloody shops. I am that empty shoe;

That piece of skirt; that constant lonely phone.


And you were constant once. ‘I like a bit

Of peace,’ you said, and gently touched my hands.

It takes a gentle touch to wire a bomb

And tell it to obey. I know that now.

I loved you then. You made me laugh that day

Beside the lake when I forgot the cups.

You knelt by me and cupped your hands instead.

You stroked my chin, you smiled; my face was wet.

I broke the silent years and stumbled out

My secret hopes to you. But you were blank

And deep inside I knew you would not stay.

Deep in that dark and silent space, the place

I call my soul, I knew what you were doing.

I knew, and kept my knowledge locked.

I knew and did not know. I can’t explain.

I don’t know why I never spoke, except

That night we spent in silence by the fire,

Flames on your glowing skin; our whispering clothes.

Your eyes met mine and then they slid away;

You touched my lips. How silent could I be?


And then last night in bed you sat up stark

And quivered at the quiet note that came

From someone else’s lips. You slipped into

Your clothes and coat and out into the dark.

You made a bomb and planted it – for what?

It took the earth apart. I saw it on TV.

You made a bomb and planted it in me.

© Elaine Canham 2014

About elainecanham

I started blogging because I'm a writer, and I thought I ought to. Now I realise that I blog because I lwant to; even when I can't think of much to say. I do a lot of work for local businesses - get in touch if you like my style.


17 thoughts on “When a bomb goes off

  1. Thank you so much for following First Night Design!

    Posted by First Night Design | May 6, 2014, 4:59 pm
  2. Isn’t that the beauty of writing poetry, that it emerges somehow from our pen without our realizing what is happening until it is complete? Thank you for following me at Triggershorse. – Fawn

    Posted by momfawn | May 3, 2014, 2:46 pm
    • Well it needed a bit of work to make it scan. But I don’t know where the story came from. Odd, what goes on in the back rooms of your brain.

      Posted by elainecanham | May 3, 2014, 4:25 pm
  3. Lovely. And distressing. So is the world.

    Posted by Jools | April 24, 2014, 12:01 am
  4. I read it twice, not for clarification, but because I liked it. I’ve never read anything twice (except “Wuthering Heights”)!

    Posted by Bruce Goodman | April 23, 2014, 7:24 pm
  5. This is quite excellent, and a pleasure to fall upon. The story is tightly told in verse and each word plays a part. The subject is harrowing, but the execution of the piece is outstanding. Moving and memorable. What could be more impressive

    Posted by Peter Wells aka Countingducks | April 23, 2014, 3:45 pm
  6. Sobering. Very sobering

    Posted by lbwoodgate | April 23, 2014, 11:44 am
  7. Beautifully written Elaine.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    Posted by davidprosser | April 23, 2014, 11:36 am
  8. Beautiful post…..

    Posted by komarovstyle | April 23, 2014, 10:50 am
  9. PS, I forgot to sign the email. It’s Loretta Livingstone (not Iain! Bad setup of email)

    Loretta Livingstone


    Posted by Loretta Livingstone | April 23, 2014, 10:27 am
  10. Elaine, this is quite, quite beautiful. One solitary, beautiful poem is better than a collection of thousands. This is one of those poems, and they are rare, that will haunt the world forever. If you would be happy about it I will forward this to a friend who features poems on her blog. This poem needs to be read. (Please answer via email as I am STILL (sigh) locked out of WP)


    Posted by Loretta Livingstone | April 23, 2014, 10:26 am

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