Poetry Wednesday: 1939-1945 War, by Leontia Flynn

Shatter the windows. Tumble down the wall.
Sleep under a curtain in the swimming pool
and shelter in the old gymnasium.
After the talks, the shying and denial,
War has come again. War: the word’s a bomb.

on everyone’s lips: The service men and women,
up in the capital for the campaign
might kip out in an open corridor.
War in the A.R.P. and letter-writing;
War for the volunteers and ground staff. War

in the cafeterias’ military operations:
in the gas shortage, the meat shortage — the rations
of everything but what the club’s now for:
War in the frantic games — the singing and dancing
from dusk till daybreak. War in the ‘R and R’.

Leontia Flynn was the Seamus Heaney Poet in Residence at The Bloomsbury. Her poetry collection Profit and Loss (2011) was a Poetry Book Society Choice and was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize.


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