Cambridge 1941

by Eleanor Fullwood

We have blackout here
Just like we did at home.
Curtained windows, no smoke.
When the fire’s out and the curtains closed
We all clamber up in the slow dusk—
George, Mother and me— to watch,
From the stone roof
All the lights switch off.
This new city turned to grey.
If I squint, here looks almost like
My left-behind London,
But Mother tells me it’s there,
Those orange flashes on the horizon—
My home, it glows.
I stretch out with my toes
Hoping home’s fireworks can warm them
When George, full of his new school,
Proclaims to this strange city’s roofs—
“London’s burning,
Like the old song says.”

It felt darker then.
I see my home filled with smoke again,
Sour, black, the kind that planes attack—
Mother pulls us close
And by the dark-curtained moon
We all huddle on the new stone roof
Escaped, displaced
To watch the fireworks.