I wrote End of the Line for last month's Writer's Talkbalk entry for the One Word Challenge, and the terrible events of 7/7 inspired me. The word we had to use was 'silence'. I tried to imagine that silence in the aftermath. What would it feel like? Oppressive, fearful...a relief?
Expression in poetry works the same as expression in prose, and free verse allows you to do this to great effect. The title of the poem has a double meaning: end of the line, meaning death, and also the end of the line on a railway track.
End of the Line
Dirt and vapour and the taste of iron filings
Settled on his tongue.
The saintly glow of fire swelled
In his mind, and despite the diminished light
It brought him to with a jolt.
Somewhere in the peripheral
Papers fluttered like stricken birds
Tossed and ushered by a breeze
Reluctant to fall or cease.
A dark swirling cloud of dust
Danced in the gaping hole
Where the doors should have been
Spinning out the aftermath
Of innards, splinters and sparks.
But all David could hear was the
Gabble of his heart rubbing against
Cracked ribs; the demure trickle of life.
He touched his face; dried parchment skin
Stretched taut and wetted by blood and grit
Muscles cramped like singed hairs
Forced pain into every knotted fibre.
Death stalked like a shrouded figure
Yet he was mindful of the terrible sound
That swept in and stifled him.
The sound of silence.
Pinned, unable to move, he turned his head
Gazed at the curling corners of a map.
Colourful lines in lined patterns mesmerised
And the words, through the haze:
Welcome to the London Underground.