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The Spike or Victoria University College Review 1943


page 6


Fascist heels ring in the hollow streets;
Threats whisper in the gusty shadows;
Faded moon-glare enamels the restless buildings;
Silence passes through the hollow streets.
Long ago, in day's sunshine,
Joan came riding from Orleans,
Over the grass unweighted by buildings;
Sun in her armour shines.
Voice filling a cloudless sky,
The hedge grown wild with roses,
The stilled trees relaxed with warmth,
The sweaty smell of the horses.

An icy breath echoes in the hollow streets;
Memory of day is distant and frozen.
Long ago men made these buildings;
The life that was France coursed through the streets,
When Voltaire, Diderot, laughed at the priests,
And stood boldly into the light.
When the people of France outgrowing their bonds,
Struck the oppressor, with sobbing hate;
When the sturdy young Communards snatched at the future;
When France was great.

The fascist heels pause in the hollow streets;
The hanging shadows are bulky and dark.
France in nineteen seventeen,
Close brown fog round a smoke-grimed train:
Khakhi men engrossed with the moment,
Troops moving up to the Line;

A heavy moment dropped from halted time.
France drifting to the expected war;
Truculent fascists take stand all round;
Then like an alarm-clock in the grey morning,
Fascist tank-tracks grind.
People banded, grimly waiting;
Officers with contemptuous smile
Let the bonds grow limp, and welcome
The fascist to the people's soil.

The fascist heels tread with leaping fear;
The shadows grow, and meet;
The whispers will become a routing din,
The streets will pulse with life again,
There will be blood with the dawn
And there will be flowers with the morning.

Quentin Barr