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Gavin Bantock – I

Tohoku Images

                    East Japan, March 2011





Blitzkrieg of ocean

drives across dry ricefields like

unfrozen oiled bronze


Sea-thrust consuming

without discrimination

entire landscapes


A whole town swaying

like a cluttered armada

rooftops exploding


Occupied vehicles

turning and rolling downstream

headlights still burning


Boat on a rooftop

a fisherman watches his

house drift out to sea


The school derelict

in falling snow a father

cries for his lost boys


A volunteer wipes

clean the emperor’s portrait

pulled from the wreckage


A headman in tears

tells the TV reporter

history ends here


Vast gyms echoing

with murmurs of refugees

boxed in partitions


Clutching pet bottles

buckets and pans long lines wait

for the water trucks


A toothless farmer

tells comical stories to

his bereft neighbours


In the ruined town

even this fallen tree has

started to flower


A single pine tree

stands undefeated above

the devastation