Please Don’t Bomb the Ghost of My Brother

He’s riding a white horse.

I was going to say he was riding into the forest.

It’s more like a wood, a large wood

with sycamore trees and silver birch

and if you look you can see a Weeping Willow.

There are deer in the undergrowth

watching carefully

and there are a lot of small animals.

He’s talking to the horse and patting its neck.

There’s no one else around

and the wood has a beguiling music.


The horse breaks into a canter.

Rabbits listen and twitch.

An oyster catcher flies overhead.

And coming into view a long-winged buzzard.


The horse slows and steps into the river –

He’s a good horse, my brother’s a good horseman.

Now they’re getting out on the other side

where there are fewer trees.

The ghost of my brother finds a glade.

There must be a score of white horses.

There’s sun light and there’s a breeze.

The horses drink from the water.

And the ghosts, soldiers like my brother,

strip off and throw themselves into the lake.

Some lie on their backs.


My brother has slipped from view.

I bet you he’s taken a big breath

kicked his legs and plunged down deep.

The horses stand under a tree.

My brother’s horse is whinnying.