Sometime before the visit,
a swimming pool was built,
and a park planted with shrubs
that would scatter petals like snow
in early summer.
After a series of spirited auditions
a choir and orchestra were formed.
The chosen musicians were fed
sardines and hot bread when rehearsals
were over for the day.
Satisfied, the Red Cross left;
and then the trains came.
The choir and orchestra thinned out,
the pool fell into disuse,
and briars choked the plants
so that no blossoms appeared
and no petals drifted on the air.
Hands on the painted clock halted time,
and the promised summer scenes.
Bodies of infants thrown to Alsatian
dogs were later found in latrines.
Michael G. Casey has published four books and numerous poems and short stories—many of them award-winning and anthologised. His two best known novels are, ‘Come Home, Robbie’, and ‘The Visit’. Six of his plays have been performed on stage—one in the Henrik Ibsen Museum, Oslo. He holds a PhD from Cambridge.