STAR POems: Destruction of Oyster Street, Portsmouth

i.m. Edward King (1862-1951)


You’d hope, so close to St Thomas’s church

it would be safer, but they bombed it flat,

straight up.  Edward King had time to paint it,

like those Western film stages, all frontage

but nothing behind, except the rubble.

He painted quick, before they tore it down.


It’s a nice row of three storey flats now

with grass where terraces used to stand.

Some boys from the grammar school were playing

footie, blazers for goal posts, not a care.

Across the road the houses have stone bricks

with sixteenth century dates carved in them.


When they were excavating the bodies

there was older stuff under Oyster Street.


Sue Spiers