"Survivor" by Philip Gross

Philip Gross

Philip Gross

Philip Grosss latest poetry collections are The Water Table (Bloodaxe, 2009) winner of the T.S.Eliot Prize and I Spy Pinhole Eye, with photographer Simon Denison (Cinnamon, 2009), which won Wales Book of the Year. He has published ten teenage novels - most recently The Storm Garden (OUP). His books of childrens poetry include The All-Nite Caf which won the Signal Award, with a new collection Off Road To Everywhere (Salt, 2010 - a Children's Poetry Bookshelf Choice). Since 2004, he has been Professor of Creative Writing at Glamorgan University, South Wales, UK, where he leads the M Phil in Writing programme.


for JKG

Is this some reassurance, what the head-scan
reveals: where they live, your nightcomers,

their thin staring children? On a siding
in the bombed-out network of the ninety year old brain.

They're here tonight again

in the doorway-their wheedling monotone,
affectless scolding, that pitiless finger-jab down,

down. to send you back, nail you, like a pin
on a war map of Europe, stabbed so sharp it rips,

East from West, now from then,

your fifty years of wriggling in the gap. Don't fool
yourself, they say, that this entitles you, this mere

being, what's the word, alive? Bar the doors,
reach for the tablets if you will. We are inside already.

We have always been here.