Chatham


A still-going dockyard town
east of London,
plenty of addicts
on the cracked high street this morning,
roadworks spilling out the sewers
and Thomas Fletcher Waghorn 
wears a red cone on his head.
Up through skimpy thickets
of September blackberries,
little droppings caked on bushes,
is the war memorial.
I look vainly for an Elston, dead.
At the docks a submarine propeller
is dismayingly thin
like a mummified honeycomb wafer
and I learn
that the descendant of a seventeenth century Dutch admiral 
came to break a children’s paper chain
in commemoration
of a battle.
How dryly time makes its joke.

Guy Elston is a 24 year old born in Oxford, now living in London and working with homeless youths in Soho. He writes a poem a day and is sharing his poems with others for the first time.