The airside Smiths gives up a book of verse –
Poems of the First World War, and half
a dozen volumes labelled “Cats”.
They’re in a corner, hiding for their lives.
This side security – checked-in, case-free;
belts off and back; we stuff the junk
of travel safe in pockets, the threat of terror calmed.
No chance for stanzas, rhymes and iambs
to have dodged the scanner’s eye.
Or place for metaphysics or neologism
along the traipse and transport to the gate.
But halt! Ignore the final calls,
departure boards, the reasons to airborne
somewhere else. Don’t search for ironies
amongst the savage threat of duty free,
for assonance amongst pelucid stacks
of gin, for similes that tick from watches
big as moons. Go buy that book of poems
from the Somme, and just be thankful that
the shop’s computer chose it for the shelf.