They had good soil. The common Sun and rain
were generous, warmed their bright eyes and made
limbs strong and gentle. Their children
ran and climbed and tumbled. But good soil
is coveted. As if a thundering host had thrown
itself against them, fiery and murderous, their land
was taken by thieves: a cruel conquest
which in thieves’ language is called purchase.
They were put to flight. The city rained
no mercies on them. They rested where the Sun
baked the hard ground, beside a smouldering
garbage heap; they were cast away. Now they live
in a rain-fed country, but have little water.
Power flows through cables; they must steal it.
Their homes are rigged from boxes and old iron.
The land is fertile; they are often hungry.
No more than a mile from wealth, their home
is an exoplanet, harsh, too distant from its star.
James Graham was born in 1939 in Ayrshire, Scotland, in a rural cottage lit by oil lamps. He was a teacher for thirty years, but would rather have been a celebrated journalist and best-selling author. Most of his published work is poetry, which has appeared in numerous print and online magazines. His third collection, Becoming a Tree, published by Troubador Press, is currently available.