September, 1918

It has been a year,
two months, five days
and this morning
since last my eyes
were full of you.

I do not know where
your head last slept,
where last you stepped,
where your body
my god save it
carries you right now.
I cannot even hear
the guns from here.
I cannot even hear them
and the post man
never brings news.

I am going out to sea.
I have stolen father’s boat
and a hundred bottles
from the milk man’s shop.

I will sail out as far as I dare
and fill the sea with them
and beg the world to spin
a bottle into your hands,
in every one, a letter to you
and a lock of my hair.

I have shorn it all off!
I have worried it out
and I have torn it out
and you may not think
me beautiful when
you finally come home
my god bring him home
but at least you will be home
and I hope, I hope safely.

This poem was originally published under the pen name Gabriel Gadfly.
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