The Tamil Girl

In October 1963 in Singapore I was too slow to stop a fatal motor accident and a little girl died.  I spent months involved in the Indonesian Confrontation, an undeclared war, along the shores and mangrove swamps of Sabah, Borneo.  I am still troubled by dreams they have nothing to do with conflict.  It is a nightmare where a child died.

R.I.P. Little Girl

 

Ghost of a Tamil Girl

The Tamil Girl died in my grasp
Though not a word was said
I hold her still though I’m now old
– Sad memories in my head –

I held her dying on that day
I’d tried to save her life
As Death will have the final say
My soul’s now torn by strife

For, “If only”, “Oh, If only…”
Repeat around my brain
In a soul now sad and lonely
I bear this bitter stain

Oh, if only I had stopped her
Running into the road
My conscience feels like I’m a cur
I’ve had to bear that load

For on the day that She had died
My actions were too slow
Time and again I’ve sobbed and cried
About that fatal blow

“Watch out” I’d said – not in her tongue
She’d run out all the same
I’ve never heard her requiem sung
And never knew her name

I’d fetched her from that roadside there
Placed her before her folk
But I still carry so much care
It makes me almost choke

And now at night deep in my sleep
In dreams I meet this child
And she looks sad if I should weep
Her ghost’s serene and mild

Are souls of those who have died young
Like angels of the Lord
And in our dreams are we among
A sort of heavenly horde?

Are we shown glimpses of a place
Beyond the void of Hate
Where there may be a state of Grace
Beyond the grasp of Fate

The Dead who flit about our dreams
May help us in our woe
They’re not as real as waking schemes
Yet bring a gentle glow

Through sorrows we may face each blight
Protected by their charm
These dead who visit in the night
May guard the mind from harm

 

© Trevor Morgan 18 April 2004 amended 2012

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Wars and change

After the retreat of the Romans from our lands we enter into a period somewhat misnamed as the “Dark Ages”.  This comes from there being only a limited number of written records of the time.  We do have archaeology and now more recently DNA evidence.  The Dna map recently published (by the Welcome Trust I think) shows that most of our population has changed little.  Yes rulers come and go but the ordinary folk remain at where they call home.  This work is a part of a much longer book I am writing about the origins of those people who called themselves the Gewissae and went on to build the Kingdom of Wessex and to unify the English into one nation.  There’s was a history of wars, invasions, and eventual success in adversity followed by decline and the Norman Conquest.

This poem is about the immediate aftermath of the departure of the Romans in 410AD to the arrival of Hengest and Horsa and their defeat of Vortigern in 455AD.

The Midwife at the birth of change

“This land so pregnant here with change
Once then faced the starkest strife;
The birth of change is not so strange,
Where wars act as midwife!

The Picts would rally and rage down,
The Irish too would raid;
Then plague would empty many a town
As trade and wealth decayed.

One tyrant felt he could hold sway
With troops he got for hire.
These men they gained much more than pay;
That tyrant felt their ire.

For once they’d put the Picts to flight
And drove the Scotti out;
The hirer, them, he felt their might,
That tyrant faced his rout.

Why risk your life to fight for pay
When you may gain much more.
The ways of old have had their day
These lands would now know war

New powers would be slow to rise
Like tides things ebb and flow
They fall from Grace who are not wise,
Proud hearts should know true woe.

The roots of trees may slowly spread
And topple any wall.
Ah, Pride, it has been often said
May cause the great to fall!

This land so pregnant here with change
Would now face such deadly strife;
The birth of change is not so strange,
Where wars acts as midwife!”