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Youth | By Gus Bambridge-Sutton

Back home in England, the landscape soothes like sleep-stuffed eyes.

Bleary with cool, it’s youth in full bloom,

the leaves and fields bleeding out of the cracks in the earth

and lunging their way into cottages and villages and churches.

One can feel the absences left by dropped bombs in the cities, of course,

and the tensions like boiling kettles of the scattered Angry Young Men,

but out in the grasses and trees the land is a deep emerald,

unmarked by shell-holes and bones but watered by rain and mist

and pulled up towards the sky by endless strokes of weak caramel sun.

As I depart from that foetal mist and rush in to the labyrinth of the mainland,

The landscape is another ego,

a darker one packed with crevices of knowledge absent from home.

You can feel its age, cracked and dusty as if its solar slavemaster

has whipped all the life out of it until the grasses fade

and all the mud turns to sand and the sand to dust.

This bleached flurry of a landscape knows my secrets, I feel,

as it knows the secrets of so many men whose lifeblood it has absorbed,

Who howled for their mothers as their supple legs were blown apart by artillery.

It is the protector that keeps the colour from fading overseas.

It is the parent taking a gunamn’s bullet for their child,

it is the knife-beaked bird battling the huntsman for its young,

it is the starry blanket that keeps our innocents from seeing the collapse of galaxies.

Mist has been blown from its shores by cannonblast

and it gleams, clear and naked, in the pale spring sunshine,

waiting for the next bomb to drop.

Augustus Bambridge-Sutton is an English Literature with Creative Writing graduate. He is currently working as a support worker for people with learning disabilities. In the future he hopes to do a Masters Degree in Political Philosophy, and either go into journalism or join the civil service. He currently has one story in line to be published, with more (hopefully) on the way. 

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