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April 5, 2021


#PoetryMonth Surge

by N@ncy


  1. For those readers of Jay Bernard’s debut Surge who are
  2. not familiar with the historical event to which it responds,
  3. there is a carefully detailed author’s foreword.
  4. On 18 January 1981, 13 black teenagers were killed in a
  5. house fire that engulfed a birthday party at in south-east London.
  6. Although the New Cross Fire is still in living memory,
  7. Jay Bernard is seeking to introduce it to a new generation
  8. …to make history live and remind readers these are both statistics and people.


  1. I haven’t even opened the book but I feel this will be an emotional journey.
  2. This time I’m reading the book while  listening to the audio book.
  3. I will just let Bernard’s words wash over me.
  4. Each poem has a different voice…a gathering of people.
  5. Parallels are drawn between the New Cross Fire 1981 and Grenfell
  6. the tower block fire in 2017 where the official death toll was 72.
  7. Surge” tells a story of the  past and present
  8. …showing how lessons have not been learnt.
  9. #Impressive

Last thoughts:  5 poems that focus on the aftermath….haunting.

  1. Harbour: a ghost child going over the events in the fire…telling friends
  2. to save themselves:   “I said, I called – jump”
  1. Clearing: The speaker is a victim of the fire and describes
  2. how the body is placed in body bag.
  1. “+”   The mother of a victim is informed they have a yellow shirt
  2. …the mother says:  “…this must be our son.”
  1. “-”    The voice is of the victim lying dead on a morgue table
  2. about to be identified  “You came, dad –“
  1. Kitchen:   The voice of a victim returns to her home
  2. ….loving she describes  the kitchen
  3. “I have held this house in my arms
  4. …and let it sob on the bathroom floor.”
Read more from poetry
4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Apr 5 2021

    An interesting premise for a collection of poems. Sounds like it had a big impact on you.


    • Apr 5 2021

      It did…amazing your poet, J. Bernard with impressive education (see wikipedia)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Apr 5 2021

    Reblogged this on penwithlit.



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