The bell sings no more. A tooth
chipped, no cheshire cat
smile. ‘Oh dear! Oh dear!’ It isn’t half
gawkey. The clock’s face
scarred worse than mine
when they found me, a yawning
straight through its afternoon
or dead of night.
At eight o’clock in the morning a piece
of shrapnel burrowed its tick into the small
intestine, like clockwork. The ground
shook still, and worried
the dinger into a frenzy of chattering
fit now only for hysterics.
the key in the shrunken lock with needle-
thin hands. Perhaps if the clock
had only broken
earlier I might have over- slept
not been buried beneath
the clemmies of the front door
with that sound ringing
out the blood from my soaking
* Hilda Horsley was a 17 year old dressmaker in Hartlepool in 1914. She was the first civilian and the first female casualty of the First World War, when the Germans shelled Hartlepool on 16th December 1914.
~ Emily Webb
Emily Webb began writing poems about a year ago, and doesn’t seem to be able to stop. This is the first time she has submitted her poetry to the world. She currently works on the literature and spoken word programme at Southbank Centre, writes a blog and has co-founded Literary Dinners, bringing writers and guests together for unique fictional feasting.