UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Victim Thirty-One by Harry Clifton

31 people died in the King's Cross fire in London,
November 1987. One remained unidentified.

As the crowd exploded like billiard balls
Through the ticket turnstiles, and King's Cross
Swallowed its rush-hour, its determinate mass,
I thought of the silent bicycle in our hall
Unclaimed for days, and the frightened girls upstairs
Askance at water dripping from their lightbulb,
Wondering who it was who lived up there

On the roof of the world, a pattern of footsteps
In the small hours, a Tibetan monk gone astray
Or an Irishman in London, without roots.
You could be no-one here, you could pass away
Unheeded, in the general conflagration
Branding you like a shadow to the walls
Of its wind-tunnels, its sub-millenial stations.

There are many hells ... One is to be free,
Unknown, the ashes of identity
Gathered after death and claimed by no-one.
So if I seem, on the public telephone,
A disembodied voice across a city
Shouting into a mouthpiece, calling home,
Remember the hour, the date, the place, the name.