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The Saturday Poem: Ely 1948


by Grey Gowrie

A de Havilland Dove ascends from a still-commissioned
East Anglian airfield and shakes its small
wings at all the damaged and marooned
Lancaster bombers. I watch it fly
until it is even higher than Ely cathedral,
an alp in this flat land.
Sky tries to sustain the little dove
a while longer and the two towers
swap sunrise and sunset. Afternoons
are flat, also, and grey: memorial services.
Cromwell and Co. hacked the noses off
shelved medieval saints. Our modern world
hums quite happily, like the de Havilland,
over the nave just now.
All my life I have loved the sun
and the colour of honey. Now I long for the dark
to crouch and soar in; with you, my grave, my cathedral.

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