The Olympic Runner

I am old now and walk slowly.
But there was a day when I outran
An Olympic speed record.

I walked alone along a road
Where most of the houses had been bombed.
These demolished houses had once been homes.

Air raids were now a way of life.
The planes came by day and night,
Designed to break civilian morale.

My reverie was broken by the
Sounds of anti-aircraft guns
Fired with great urgency.

The sirens screamed and I heard
The sound of enemy aircraft
Approaching far too quickly.

The ground shuddered
As bombs dropped
On our precious earth.

A turn in the road
Revealed a brick shelter
Built on the edge of the sidewalk.

The shelter looked miles away.
I ran. Oh, how I ran.
No Olympic runner ever ran so fast.

I arrived at the shelter puffing and panting.
I closed my eyes
As I leaned back against the wall.

When I opened my eyes I could see gray skies.
The shelter was unfinished.
The roof had still to be built.