Ben Brooksbank [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

London 1945

1947? It could be worse.
The pinched exhaustion, the lack of hope,
The rationed expectations.
The war was fought to the last gasp;
That zombie breath is victory.

They sent away their children, to be safe,
The men were all in service,
They came home strangers,
Where there were homes left.
And looked round, slowly.

Destroyed? It could be worse.
You mean the Empire,
Maybe commerce, economics,
Vanished power once essential?
All barely noticed.

No, that spirit had gone out of them,
Like passion, like enough to eat,
Like grace;
And if we are still here
It is by others’ charity.

They were bone weary
There was no more good news
And those who could flee fled.
But really, still, it could be worse.
We won: we might at any time have lost.

10th June 1998, Swansea.