First he will salvage the old photographs:
The half-lit Edwardian drawing room,
A glimpse of another dimension,
Fixed smiles from sepia-tinged faces.
The Shibboleth of all desires, here
Distilled in letters, old documents,
Residuals and marginalia,
The shards of benign fragmentation.
He will protect the tiny girl that died
With her daughter, haemorrhaged after birth,
And the soldier on the Somme, alluding
To the consequences of indiscretions.
He will keep the prayer books from the library,
Boxes full of tissued medals, trophies
Won on distant sun-kissed playing fields,
Evocative of languid, post-war ease.
And this long-lost, blurred, half-focused world
The loose plasticity of flowing time
He will store in a corner of his mind:
Their heartbeats, their tear-stained miseries.