Two Poems by Chris Hardy

Growing pains

We’d been in France for a week,
complaining of the food,
bored by Caen.
On the last day you said,

Let’s visit
the field I landed in
on D Day night,
it won’t take long.

You’d spoken of
the war sometimes –
jumping from racing lorries,
learning to fall,

legs bent, shoulder, roll
when you hit the ground.
But now you told us how
you first left home

by dropping in the dark
through clouds
to arrive in France.
Eyes shut,

tears streaming up
between the shrouds,
boots, ammunition, helmet
shooting you down

into black fields
and rivers on
the landing zone.
Your friends

silently visible
in the sky,
like white confetti
at a midnight wedding,

consummated by drowning soldiers
in the glow of burning gliders.
For a moment
you must have felt safe

after leaping from the door,
suddenly floating,
only one way to go.
Of course we said, No.

……….

His other half

As we drove towards
the crater and
volcano she explained

that if the driver,
next to her, had not
got a ring onto her finger,

before he left
for Normandy,
she’d have married some

other man, maybe
a Destroyer Captain
whom she met.

So I’d have never
been born,
or only half of me

perhaps and that half
not knowing where
his other half was,

and all the while
my father held the wheel
and steered us

safely north.
I could not see
his face

from the rear seat
as he looked ahead
into the past.

…..

Chris Hardy explains that his Dad was a paratrooper in WW2, dropped the night before D-Day into France. Growing pains recalls a family holiday in France many years later, when Chris and his sister were teenagers. The poem was first published in The Frogmore Papers and will also be included in Chris’s fourth collection, due for publication in 2017.  His other half records a surprising revelation in East Africa by Chris’s mother, about what might have happened when his father was away in WW2.  The poem was published in Wasafiri, and also in Chris’s last collection Write Me A Few Of Your Lines, (Graft publications, 2012).

…..

Chris’s poems have appeared in Poetry Review, Stand, The Dark Horse, The Moth, the North, The Interpreter’s House, The Rialto and many other magazines, anthologies and on-line magazines e.g. London Grip, Ink Sweat and Teams, The Compass Magazine.  His poems have also won prizes in National Poetry Society and other competitions. Chris is in LiTTLe MACHiNe, performing settings of poetry at literary events around the country, currently working with Roger McGough with whom they have recently made an album.  Carol Ann Duffy has described LiTTLe MACHiNe as The best music and poetry band in the world.  http://www.little-machine.com

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