Three Poems by Julia White

Please Look After Billy

When I heard
they found him
in Snowsfields,
I thought of
daisy chains,
cow parsley,
clean socks every day.

When I heard
they found him
in Snowsfields,
four days on
from the bombing,
I saw
those were not birds
or paper planes

When I heard
they found him
in Snowsfields
past lost rooms
in buckled brown sandals,
they said what a miracle
someone read the note
pinned to his hand-knitted

This is not what I imagined

in borrowed fur and winter hat.
No white but cloying lilies and altar
cloth, all life starched out of it.

I did not invite your cousin John,
best-suited with his orderly wife
and son. Or choose that hymn.
If it was your favourite, you never said.

The vicar mutters absently ahead,
robes fluttering in the candle draught,
hits a crescendo at the chancel steps,
as though you might be listening.

All eyes are on me now
as I stumble towards you.
This is not how I imagined it,
this walking up the aisle to music
on my father’s arm.


It was as if I’d never left there,
the timbered Tudor house that really isn’t,
though it has borne witness to enough
plots and twists, ins and outs of love
to satisfy any scheming statesman.
Yet the quick-march orderliness I grew up in
had surrendered to non-iron sheets, the
neighbour’s old copies of Gardeners’ World.

Not the welcome from you I’d hoped for –
back turned, half-hearing, foraging for any
carton or tin that might pass as lunch, even to
an uninvited guest, but you listened, let my story run,
offered me Father’s ‘perfectly good’ coat to
wear. Said how you hate waste.


Julia White lives in Leicestershire and is currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing at Leicester University. She loves writing poetry and has had poems published in East Midlands Poets and Captured Creativity.

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