Monday, 4 February 2013


“Alas, regardless of their doom, the little victims play! No sense have they of ills to come, nor care beyond today.” - Thomas Gray

The image supplied this week by Magpie Tales was a photograph of the Central Library, Manchester, U.K., taken by Robin Gosnall. As is my usual habit, I have rather changed the image (with apologies to Robin G). The original was one of rather melancholy atmosphere and what I started out as a colourisation that would make it cheerier, instead turned it into one of utter doom… No wonder the resultant poem is also tinged by grimness and desperation!

The Day After

The day after
Only a few cannibal carrion birds
Will fly above deserted streets
Shrieking in dismay
As all the dead have been vaporised.

As night falls
The silence profound and absolute,
As the last wild beast
Retreats limping weakly to its lair,
With empty stomach to expire.

The city empty
Dark, taciturn, but still imposing –
Like a stern emperor
Who even bereft of subjects
Will still pronounce hollow decrees.

The day after
Dawns as even the vermin die out:
Rats turning into decomposing, foul-smelling mush
And cockroaches into empty shells,
Leaving the world now completely lifeless.

As noonday sun shines and burns
And sterilises the putrescence,
Only the proud and tall edifices will proclaim

The short reign of Homo sapiens
Who came, conquered and destroyed
All that lived, even himself…


  1. Reminded me of:
    ...on the pedestal these words appear:
    "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
    Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.

  2. Yes, I agree that the gray photo is depressing, yet amazing that you colored it only to create a horror story from the buttoned-up institutional photographs. As I just said elsewhere, a picture is no longer worth a thousand words...and was it ever? I like your well crafted poem even as I cringe from the subject matter.

    Good to be here again.

  3. Love the contrast you present ~~ vibrant image and dark words.