June 25, 2017

Olga Dermott-Bond

GRENFELL

We are throwing our children
out of windows.

Knotted bedsheets are falling
short
and we are
wrapped in choking blankets
high in this tower—

before this moment
muffled important men
ticked each blind box
sat on their cold hands
covered their ears
kept their distance
reclined in chairs the colour
of expensive coffee
climbed inside airy committees
insulated themselves in
someone else’s bureaucracy
flimsy as the lids on their drinks
that they abandoned
after the meetings
on budget cuts

leaving us groping
in the darkness of these thin-
lipped walls
and now the stairs are
crumbling coals
and we are faltering
on the edge
of these burning cliffs
that we wanted to call home.

We are throwing our children
out of windows

feeling for the last time
those hot desperate hands
that first cradled our little fingers
as their own
starry universe.

We are pulling them
from our sobbing
necks and reaching as far out
from the molten frames
as we can
our arms stretched taut and flat as a fledging’s neck
trembling with our most precious selves
who are falling
so suddenly
as we are letting them go
into the darkness
ripping our histories
in two.

We are fighting every instinct
and crying to strangers to

catch them
catch them
catch them

We are praying
that someone
will one day love them
as we are loving them.

We are throwing our children
out of windows.

Before this moment
muffled important men—

but perhaps now
it will be harder to
ignore the messages
written tomorrow morning
in the curled ashes
at their feet.

Poets Respond
June 25, 2017

[download audio]

__________

Olga Dermott-Bond: “My reaction to the Grenfell Tower tragedy was one of horror, disbelief, shock, grief. My immediate response was to write about it, through angry tears. Writing can be an act of empathy, and this was my way of connecting with this terrible event; reaching out to the victims; asking the question: why? Last night, I went to a lecture by Michael Rosen about ‘Why Writing Matters.’ He talked about ‘impossible writing.’ I live over one hundred miles away from Grenfell Tower and, of course, it is impossible for me to ever fully understand or carry the grief of the victims and their families. However, to me poetry is a way to try and express—to inhabit—the impossible sadness and insanity of this tragedy, to show those people who lost their lives or their loved ones that they are not alone.” (twitter)

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