Catholic Distance University

Habanera

Andrew Thornton-Norris

For fifty years this flat has been my home,
Atop this nineteen-thirties tower block,
The sea a few dilapidated streets
Away, the city wall once nearby too.

From sea and sky I’ve seen this city fall,
And I have seen decay like fire consume
These streets where children play and lovers walk,
Whom too I’ve seen decay like fire consume.

My parents brought me here when I was small,
To this key city of the New World;
A world we all seem to inhabit now,
As cities rise, like lives and fires, and fall.

Andrew Thornton-Norris is the author of The Spiritual History of English and of The Ghost of Identity, a novel. A graduate of the University of Oxford, he resides in London.

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