Never Forgets

Poem published in Creatures of the Intertidal Zone (Cinnamon Press 2007)

by Susan Richardson


Your bone china cup rattles in its saucer.

Your sash window stutters in its frame.

Your whiskey bottle tumbles

from the table and shatters.

That drumming you hear isn’t rain.


Skin crinkled like bin bags, they thump

past the cinema (the film burps and judders),

barge past the busker (his dusty dog whimpers

on its string). Cars, that other lumbering herd,

are bumper-to-bumper, as fear flees

to worship at Tesco

or seeks salvation at Esso first.


The gargoyles on your walls wince and shudder

as calves, ancient matriarchs, bulls in musth

stump closer: thousands are now marching

out of town. They’ve shrugged off

the Maharajahs, bashed

through the bars in the zoos, thudded

from shrunken jungles in their hunt for you.


Crash! – down go your gilded gates –

then each nose, lithe as a petrol pump hose,

uproots an English oak. They tusk

your summerhouse to see if it’s edible,

lasso your rococo statues.


Cracks split your ceilings.

Your chimney stacks plummet.

Your stables crumble and they trample

through the rubble, dumping

wrecking balls of dung.


Your door caves in:

they storm straight to your piano

and tear out its teeth without anaesthetic.

One by one.

Title: Never Forgets
Author: Susan Richardson
Date: 20 Oct 2008