Grenfell Day, by Rip Bulkeley

Like any and every other day
this one was filled with happiness,
with loss and crime and ice-cream vans,
with lovers’ confessions and catastrophes,
with hopeless refugees, with foolishness and failures,
with traffic shunts and garbled texts
and delicious meals shared with friends.

Nothing extraordinary was supposed to occur.
Our online lives were already too full for that,
too crammed with coping, fears, and change,
with the welcome birthday of a partner
or the unwanted anniversary of their dementia.

But it fell like childbirth nightfall epilepsy winter.
It thrust its evil way into the evil world
which we had built especially for its theatre,
ending scores of lives and changing those of thousands.
No flights into or out of Heathrow
were grounded by its column of charnel smoke,
though probably Ramadan was altered
for some of those rushing to help.

We cannot should not put it back, do it justice,
or move on. The self-syled ‘great’
are remembered for a century or two,
but 72 Hashims or Glorias or Biruks?
There hasn’t been a single day of national mourning,
a Grenfell Day.



Previously published on Culture Matters and Write Out Loud.

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