Briege Duffaud

2020

Right from the start the TV news
resembled Sci-fi books I used to read
by torchlight under blankets
breathless at events unthinkable
in my feather-pillowed wool-warmed Convent world.
The Kraken rose from suntan-friendly waves,
Martians blow-torched London.
That was fiction.

Truth then was our First Communion quiz:
Who made the world? God made the world
for His own glory, Man’s use and benefit.

It came with warnings though: The fire next time.
We thought that was a metaphor,
forgetting how he drowned the whole place once
in a vengeful tantrum, with far less cause
than Man’s misuse of His creation.
That was fiction, maybe.

Truth now seemed a while
to be that kangaroo poised like the last dinosaur
against red sky, black bones of houses.

We thought: the future?
Till green leaves began to sprout
from torched trees and ashy earth
like the olive twig an optimistic dove
gifted to Noah.
Then someone ate a pangolin
or dropped a test-tube in a lab, whatever ….
Can fiction better that?

Briege Duffaud is Northern Irish but most of her adult life has been spent in England and France. She has worked as a freelance journalist before publishing two novels and a short story collection. She has been writing poetry since 2016. She lives in South-West London.