wordsout by Godfrey Rust                                       The sailing of the ark  2 of 45  HOME  


We've reached life's middle ground,
surprised we got this far without being

found out, and still wondering
what it is we're going to do when we grow up; yet 

I'm here somehow with all the regular stuff—
job, wife, mortgage, bank statements and bills, 

bathroom ceiling needing papering,
two children to be got to bed by eight—while 

the man I might have been digs with his bare hands
in the ruins of a bombed-out house in Basra 

or lies on the ground in Africa with ribs
like a birdcage stretched across with parchment 

and staring eyes fixed, I think, on something other
than a choice of curtains and the current mortgage rate. 

Written at the end of the first Gulf War in 1991.

Basra in south eastern Iraq was bombarded both by the Allies and later by Saddam Hussein.