Past loves

A sad sight on a wintery day –
A thousand wrecks ranked, rusting
Row on row: deserted, desolate and unremembered;
All once proud loves of owners past and gone…

Ripped now of treasures,
Eyeless, unshod, robbed,
They bear stigmata of the crane’s cruel grab;
Vauxhall on Renault, Citroen on Ford;
Vans,caravans and cars stand many deep,
Deformed, discoloured
Battered, crashed and mute,
A piled kaleidoscope of sorry yesterdays…

And underneath the metal charnel heaps
A Somme-like battlescape, caterpillar-tracked,
Dead glass and shrapnel-chrome bestrewn
Pierced here and there by fetid pools of oil
Bled out from broken carcasses of cars.

Jeaned scavengers, readied tools held low
Stalk watchful-eyed, alert for spoil;
Wield lengths of tailpipe,
Wrenched-out Daimler seats;
Clutch shot-through tin hats
Plucked from Simca lights;
An unbumped bumper or a stove-in door.
Prizes are won long after battles cease…

Victors are raped now, Triumphs overturned.
Despite their clocked-up speedos,
Grey worn valves,
These metal loves have no oblivion earned.
Rain falls on sports cars
MGs, Jensens, Sprites;
Datsuns sink deeper, crushed in puddled clay;
Alfasuds, Rovers, Renault Caravelles
Ungainly sprawl in death – or wait a Recon Day.

Hail’s hammers nail closed bonnets
Boots and roofs,
Sounding a knell for ‘Amy’, ‘Rosie’, ‘Fred’,
Who only now in photographs
Fare well.

Adversane Scrapyard, Sussex; 1986

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