They pass all day, and much of the night,
wailing with urgency, scrabbling for hope
down in the valley, but out of sight
from where I live on the hill’s dark slope.
Ambulance, fire, police – I can’t know,
a tree-caught cat or a motorway crash
a dying body, an arm moving slow
regret too late, or a mercy dash.
A cyclist clipped by a bakery truck
another gang-boy with a knife in his side
a cheating scoundrel run out of luck
all reminders of the ‘blood-dimm’d tide’.
It happens to everyone, that much I know,
the growth in the gut, the blood in the brain
the gas, the explosion, the voice urging low
to a fatal risk in the slippery rain.
The sirens keep singing; bound to the mast
I strive to break free, to join the mad ride
straight through the traffic, far too fast,
an anguished ghost with a dying bride.