Poem ‘Hurricane’s Grave’

Hurricane’s Grave

A copse can be an intimate
friend. Most days he roamed there, always
finding something to love, a life of
reasonable expectation.
Late winter was a favourite time; tree tops
took on reddish hues and
there were further signs other
than snowdrops
and blue tits’ brighter songs, of the
burgeoning spring

Today was different. Large boots
had been this way,
their wearer, like
a stump line of grey, stood
barely seen by an old fence, through straight
saplings in sunlight.
He approached the figure, which seemed
to dissipate like mist in the sun, something
he’d mistaken for form
and life

But it was more than
a notion that had led him there. The fence
overlooked a rolling field, familiar lumps
and bumps of pasture unchanged
for decades,
where lords in their demesnes might
still rule for all he knew.
He leant on the fence, it
gave way in his hand. A piece of torn
grey cloth freed from a nail, flopped to
the damp ground.
He held it,
felt its old thick weave— like a uniform

He pondered the scene in front
of him, gave space to wartime tales,
the remembered lumps and
bumps which might easily hide a
hurricane’s grave

image and poem © copyright david f. barker 2012

* The Hurricane here, is a British WWII fighter plane


10 thoughts on “Poem ‘Hurricane’s Grave’

  1. What a haunting tale, David. You really do set a scene so well, I always feel as if I’m there with the characters of your poems. Very well-done.


  2. I thought this has a touch of Robert Browning’s dramatic monologue, although, of course, the poet is telling the tale, not the man who eventually stands by the fence contemplating the hurricane that fell near the copse. Still, the way the tale is told in a single voice, culminating in a climax that reflects back on the beginning, middle, and end of the poem, still reminds me of Browning.
    The hurricane in the poem, too, becomes a double metaphor, at least to me. The hurricane was a war plane, but it is also a storm that the war plane was named after. The literal grave is the grave for the plane, the hurricane, but there is more in that field than a war story. It is where the hurricane is buried, but it is also where the storm of the old war and the stories of that war are buried. Perhaps it is where part of the man by the fence is also buried.
    He approached the figure, which seemed
    to dissipate like mist in the sun, something
    he’d mistaken for form
    and life…
    The ghost in the field, who left boot tracks in the mud, gives the poem a haunted air. There are more than memories here, but a figure that dissipates like mist even though he leaves behind tracks…perhaps a place where
    lords in their demesnes might
    still rule…
    So, I guess, there might be a third hurricane in the fields by the copse too, the boundary where ghosts, the lords in their demesnes, memory of war, and the hurricane as a plane all are, creating a storm in the spirit. This, even though, this is a favorite place where blue tits and mounds of earth, and a life of reasonable expectation all can be found.


  3. This is superb, David! I could feel myself walking through the copse, experiencing it and discovering it. Very powerful poem as it reveals its layers, literally and metaphorically.


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