Bertie walks on the night road
away from the shadows in his mind,
they have been there
ever since he came home in 1943
and found his family blown away
by a Nazi bomb.
The sounds in his mind rise up
to the hymn of the road,
they were playing Al Bowlly that night
singing, ‘The very thought of you’
on the wind up gramophone
down in the London underground shelter.
Bert’s mind was thinking
of his Sally waiting for him
as he opened the door
of his terrace house.
His job as an air raid warden
took him away for long periods,
but that night his world came to an end.
The smoke and the rubble,
the kind policeman’s face,
the lady with the sweet tea.
They took him to a night shelter
and gave him a change of clothes,
but, Bertie’s rainbow had fallen from the sky.
He went into the night walking.
Once he had a rainbow at the end of his road
but now only rain.
Bertie walked till one night in 1953,
he lay sleeping under a railway bridge
and his heart stopped beating.
(by Chris Pitts)