And let us say
That if the linen flapped too loud
The washing line was taken down
And if a shopdoor bell was rung
Its tongue was held with cotton thumbs
And if a milkfloat tattled by
It was flagged down and held aside
And should the rivers drown us out
We had them dammed at every mouth
And coughed our engines gently off
And wrapped our tyres in woollen socks
And sat awhile on silent roads
Or dawdled home in slippered shoes
And did not sound but held our tongues
And watched our watches stop, and startle on.
from Ground Water (Bloodaxe, 2004), © Matthew Hollis 2004, used by permission of the author and Bloodaxe Books.