The first thing we did was light the fire.
It took time - damp wood - and even once
the heart of the house was warm again the silence
in which we unpacked lingered like a choir
when its last note haunts a stone-deaf, stone-cold spire.
At night too, hearing the familiar cadence
of the sea-surge on our beach again announce
its rhythmic, endless, ebb-and-flow satire,
I thought how brutal happiness has proved
for all its gentle, mellow, intact flame,
not just because of the subtle kind of shame
of drawing such a lot, so far removed
from front-line horrors, but because it too proclaims
the ruthless way things change and stay the same.
First published in 'Acumen' 83.