Remembering Margot Heinemann in BS3
And so there’s a sniff from the neighbours.
The lighter goes out in the breeze anyway.
They’re inferring our allegiances
and are probably right. Theirs are,
I’d hazard a guess. Not ours at least –
and staying put will leave us
in a different country. They’re forgetting
that we have memories too
and remember afternoons in the 80s
when Margot Heinemann heaved up the stairs
and the heart of the heartless world
plumped comfortably into the sofa.
We ate lunch her sister prepared
and talked of changes and days
when Jarrow came down through
a country made over to red brick
and university places paid for
in a different currency.
She knew all too well about Spain
and its unnecessary murders
and said so – rhetoric cleansed
of excuses – while her lost love
turned in his distant grave
outside Teruel where he fought
to the end to save everything
that they kept hold of,
everything that they held dear
Tom Phillips is a poet and playwright living in Bristol. His poetry has appeared in a wide range of magazines, anthologies, pamphlets and the full-length collections Unknown Translations (Scalino, 2016) and Recreation Ground (Two Rivers Press, 2012). Other work includes co-running the online poetry/art project Colourful Star, editing the magazine Balkan Poetry Today and translating contemporary Bulgarian writing.