Valedictorian

How we suffer now from adventures
Both fantastic and more frivolous
Of our Nokken-locked forebearers;
Their revelling days of fortune and fray
Without thoughts for future seafarers;
Their consanguineous prayers all spared
For the vainglory of giant squid battles.
The Pompeiian partisan audience bayed
For gory blood-letting stages, and rattles
Through cattle wagons reverberating;
Woodstock, hemlock, sixty-eight,
All as if just yesterday;
Cavaliers hounding Roundhead saddles
Built bridges to last on sweetcorn
And apples. I looked in the cupboards
For a jar of Spanish marmalade
But every cupboard is stripped
And how they stare back, a ghastly stare
Like a stray dog’s dead eye socket
Devoid of its optic organ.
The entertainment of war endured
And the wars of lasting distractions;
Blessed were you to feel the blue sea,
But you left no more for her or for me.
Rest well within your heavenly shelter,
In bed your daughter, the Future, swelters;
This is your valedictory speech now failing
It trails from Paris to the pier at Grayling,
I wish her brave sailors would scatter and seek
The land where no more mothers are wailing.