Rebecca Gethin




Jan Palach

For months I’d imagined tanks arriving here
wondered from which direction they’d arrive –
up Haverstock Hill or down the hill from Golders Green?
Demonstrators marched along the High Street, shouting
“Dubcek! Dubcek!”   I watched from the pavement.
Trees dropped their leaves, the ponds on the Heath
had a crust of silver ice. Ducks coming in to land broke it open.
On the news, Prague was greyer tones of grey.  I had no idea
where it was.  I wrote Dubcek’s name on a piece of paper and stuck it
to my window. Then came the human torch who danced
as he burned. Clothed in fire, flames spiralled round his limbs.
I remember they were orange. He was six years older than me.



Rebecca Gethin lives in Devon and had two pamphlets published in 2017. New work appears in a  variety of journals. She has been a Hawthornden Fellow and undertook a residency at Brisons Veor. Messages was a winner in the Coast to Coast to Coast pamphlet competition.  Vanishings is forthcoming from Palewell Press.

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