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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Tuesday, June 28, 2005
    How to Demolish a House
    a poem by Clare Shaw

    Start with the swing and the slide,
    hide the miniature cars and
    the trike with the squeak.

    Bury the gnome.
    rip the ivy out from the brick,
    cut the hedge right back

    to its root. Strip all the fruit from the tree.
    Open the door to the greenhouse.
    Wait for frost.

    Pick a fistful of stones.
    Take out the birds at the table
    one by one.

    Cut down the lines to the phone.
    Scrape off the name
    from its plate. Dunrovin.

    Erect a high fence to deter intervention.
    Dig out the foundation. Observe
    the slump of the roof like tarpaulin.

    How the rain pools
    where the cat used to watch in the morning.
    Plough up the garden.

    Ignore the old bones, the pink panic
    of worms. Step across
    the limp grey felt of the moles.

    Now the black crows rise
    like bad news.
    Steal the spare keys.

    Don't make a noise. Avoid
    the tangle of boots in the hallway.
    The shadows of coats on their hooks.

    Now place a small bomb.
    Don't mention a thing.
    Don't warn anyone.

    I was drawn to this, in Nerve #6 which I picked up in News From Nowhere today, but you can also read online. The articles about CCTV surveillance in Liverpool city centre and demands to Make Wealth History, the interview with George Monbiot and the page given over to the Save the Florrie campaign, all engaged me. But I had to stop here, ask, why did the poet come up with that title? How did she decide to describe it that way? It's odd. I like it.