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Image by Illiya Vjestica


with the martello journal

In Epping

by bern butler

she marvelled how like England England was
not imagined fiction in Enid Blyton books:
bobby at the station with his cockscomb hat,
woman buying tickets saying hawf for half.

Not made up the rows of red-tiled roofs,
streets of neat-bricked houses, where
children never disobeyed, chimed please
and fank-you to the mister in the shop.

Where lawns were watched like enemies,
hedges cropped and trees imprisoned
along pavements, ripe with fallen plums,
that summer she went to see her sister.

Such order in comparison to home
where semi-wild, she raided apples
from the gardens of The Blessed
Church of Sanctimonious (but spat
because of wretched bitterness)

thieved blackberries from blackbirds

down laneways clogged with gorse, burnt-
out Escorts, brambles strung with plastic bags

(bunting of the dispossessed) near Rahoon flats.

Whereas in Epping, plenty, ease; that sense
of lived-in Englishness going back, and back
intact, unlike her patch of interrupted wasteland
its damaged roots, rampant hungry grass.

From Galway, Ireland, Bern Butler’s work has featured in Force 10, The Ropes Anthology, The Galway Review, North-West Words, Abridged, The Ireland Chair of Poetry, Dodging Rain, The Madrigal, Gnashing Teeth and Skylight 47 (upcoming). She was a featured reader in Cuirt New Writing Showcase 2021 and holds an MA Writing from NUI Galway.

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