Robin in Hoylake

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Though the marching protestors came past my door,
and the police and their tanks followed,
though the gunfire was loud and the screams were raw,
I slept through it all.

I went to work the next day, as the radio said I should,
picking my way between the broken shop windows
and the burnt-out cars, carefully not seeing
the blood stains that had not been washed away.

The coffee shop was gone.
Two policemen watched from across the street,
to see who paused there, who was angry.
Nearby a police van waited.

At work there was no power,
the computers and the phones were dead.
So we all stood away from the windows,
not looking out,
until they told us we should go home.

A bush beside the path to my door
was crushed as if someone had fallen there,
as if someone had landed in it,
and then been dragged away.

When a policeman shouted, I moved on,
my eyes glued to the handle of the door,
my feet moving at a perfectly normal pace,
my heart beating as if I ran a marathon.

Later, when I was asked I told them
how I slept through it all and didn’t see
the line of charging policemen
treading the crowd underfoot.

I told them I missed the rising batons
being replaced by rubber bullets,
and the sudden appearance of soldiers
whose guns spat viciously at the crowd.

So I couldn’t have seen the rioter’s
face being battered against the wall,
while a tank accelerated through
the over-crowded square.

I told them,
I slept through it all.





©2012 Robin Laffan