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It isn't a particularly remarkable day in May. Warm but not over warm. I've never been here before, to the Imperial War Museum. It's much as I expected - tanks and rockets and bits of planes - apart, that is, from the 27,000 clay figures.


colourless clay
around each tiny shape
a bright ribbon


They represent the number of children killed or wounded in the closing months of the Second World War.


young spirits roam
is that the grumble of spring thunder
or something more sinister


We are ushered into a projection room. For 20 minutes, we are transported back to the early years of the war. It's the end of the working day; I imagine my mother, young, rushing to get home before the raids begin.


the banshee wails
fingers of light
comb the night sky


In underground shelters, their fears left overground, the old and very young sleep soundly, while the night's heroes - fire-fighters and ambulance drivers - do what they can to minimise casualties. With the dawn comes peace. People survey the still smoking ruins, the number of victims as yet unknown.


the nightly visitors
rain down their terror
death stalks the streets


We are told the bombs will not destroy people's spirits...







amg1.jpg

photo The Imperial War Museum


Anne-Marie Glasheen 2005