Introduction: ‘Scenes from a Missing Childhood’ is based on the author’s experience of growing up in London during the blitz; it consists of a sequence of short prose poems depicting screen memories associated with the V2 bombs, his being sent away from home as an 18 month old baby to his grandmother in South Wales and the subsequent return. These pieces seek to create a narrative from fragments of experience which remained embedded like shrapnel in a badly damaged landscape and to convey a some of the feelings that had to evacuated in order to hold on to a sense of identity, however tenuously sustained.The sequence is included in Graphologies which is to be published in May by Mica Press ( see New Books for further information).
Here, as a taster is one section:
The baby wakes up out of a bad dream. He is being attacked again. The wolf has disappeared but not his howl. It is the siren calling him to prayer. He is picked up and carried downstairs. He can smell the fear and feel it in the arms that hold him. No one talks. Everyone is listening out. At first there is silence. That only means the Thing has not happened yet. If he could have put the Thing into words, it would be saying ‘ keep your ears skinned and remember, if you fall asleep, I might pounce and you might wake up dead’. Then he hears it, the big whine that only stops when the Thing falls silently out of the sky. He tries to block the world out. He knows the only safe place to hide is in the cave inside his body. He still hears the explosion when it comes. That does not mean it is over. There may be another one. Until the siren says it is safe to come out now. Is there anyone else alive? Will the wolf be back for his supper?