Refugees and Remembrance

The November twilight ebbs away

It is the same old ludic Time as ever.

But a dead thing is grasped by my hand,

A queer sardonic bi-valve –

I pull it from the common’s rough track

To place in my museum at home.

Droll fossil, what on earth can you know

Of national frontiers and boundaries

(And God knows what antipathies.)

Now you have touched this English hand,

This hand will help send succour to refugees,

A Jurassic note through time and space,

A message from and to Pangaea.

Written after the Browns took me fossil hunting on Rodborough Common – and after re-reading Isaac Rosenberg – and after re-visiting Stroud Museum – and after re-reading A Christmas Carol – and after reading of the indefatigable efforts of so many generous Stroud citizens.

‘No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle, no children asked him what it was o’clock, no man or woman ever once in all his life inquired the way … But what did Scrooge care? It was the very thing he liked. To edge his way along the crowded paths of life, warning all human sympathy to keep its distance.’