Wasted Young Lives – Again


Roadside FlowersSix months before my son was killed in a traffic accident I wrote this verse. It lay forgotten in a file until this morning. This weekend saw yet more young lives lost. According to the press one of the drivers had only passed his test a few days before he died. News like this transports our family back to Februray 12th 2003. When will the carnage and wasted young lives stop?

Blue flashing lights announce the show.

“Roll Up, Roll Up for the greatest free show in town.”
“Slow Down, Slow Down so you can look around”
“The more you slow, the more you’ll know.”
“That’s right Sir, just enjoy the show!”

Fluorescent coats surround a crumpled car.
There is no need to hurry now as time ran out with the road.
The rookie fireman turns retching onto the grass unprepared for what he sees.
A policeman wipes away a single tear, he’s seen it often before.

The traffic slows in mock respect, to pry on private scenes.
“Don’t look now children!” says the father as he slows the car to get a better view.
Others look upon the scene with scorn, it could never happen to them, while with protesting tyres they narrowly avoid hitting the car in front.
Traffic builds up in the other direction, they have further to look.

Photographs are taken, not of weddings or births, christenings or celebrations, but of twisted agony.
“Smile Please” has no place here.
Paperwork will turn tragic waste into a statistic.
Young bodies lie side by side under a blanket: their passion, heartbeats and racing pulses idle.

The show is over.

Policemen knock on distant doors with dread.
A mother wails “No, No, No” while her husband lays a gentle hand on her shoulder and thanks the officer for a thankless task.
A father curses the day he lent his son the deposit for a first car.
A sister lies weeping in her room, time a-plenty to regret last words never spoken.

The only remaining stains at the scene are skid marks that point to a broken fence and damaged tree, no bandage for this injury.
Flowers appear, a shrine to youthful inexperience, a mark of family grief for others to glance at while speeding on their way muttering:
“That could never happen to me”.

© Baldock Bard 2015
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