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Poem of the Week: Steps

A work from a new collection by Peter Sirr

One half of the complex is bombed
but this particular block survives
where every day the last family
comes down eleven floors for water,
a slow and dangerous journey,
because in the end,
though the windows are blown
and the rockets still whine,
it’s better to be at home among familiar things.

Better than escape or the underground shelter
the quiet passion of what’s long known,
the poetry of sink and tiles and pillow,
of everything that has happened
since the key turned in the door,
what the walls have heard and the windows seen,
what the table has blessed and the bed sung.

History is a nervous conversation
over stale bread and hard-won water,
the holding of hands and the comfort of love
through dark nights lit by fear.
History is eleven floors in the target zone
where quiet footsteps go up and down.

Today’s poem is from Peter Sirr’s new collection, The Swerve, (Gallery Press)