Chalk House



The house they knocked down
was made of chalk
well disguised by plaster and paint,
it survived the two wars
(all those flying fortressess)
the juggernauts grumbling by
the crashing storm of 1987,
withstood the famine and the plague
and the great fire that half destroyed the town.

Austere and small-windowed
we never second-glanced it
until they stripped off the plaster
and disclosed pale pristine blocks
as though they had been sawn yesterday.

Who builds a house of chalk?
Not a rich man
but an enterprising man
confident that this inexpensive rock
could stand so high so long.
Not a small house either,
lots of children fought inside these walls.

Well, it’s gone now. A piece of history
nobody cared about
replaced by four two-bedroomed terraces,
only a chalk boundary wall remaining
with a red imprint of chimney
blackened by memory’s dying smoke.


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