Night Vision


Dark shape of a man against the drifts of white

The pale watching lights on concrete walls

The crump of boots in the untrodden snow

The short scream of an owl in the hidden wood.


No lights show in the sky, but the steady throb

Of a heavy heaving plane in the opaque air;

The dogs begin to bark; a light goes out.



copyright Simon Banks 2012


I think this poem was influenced by images of the Second World War, of prisoner of war camps and concentration camps, but also perhaps by postwar spy thrillers, especially Le Carre. Still, it could be about something completely different! It’s not set in the tropics, anyway.

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  1. ladybluerose

     /  February 17, 2012

    the final sounds of a soul as they cross into the mist once more…
    sad but full of joy at what lies ahead in the next journey….
    I wonder if they take those sounds with the memories as they look back one last time

    I like this…
    Thank you Simon ….

  2. A quiet is described that says so much. I enjoyed the poem Simon.

  3. I love the imagery in this. Particularly the “watching lines”.

    Just excellent work here.

  4. Thanks, all! Ladybluerose – you’ve picked up the implication that “a light goes out” means a death, but I deliberately left the poem ambiguous so that it could have just been a light being switched off in a building or a floodlight failing. I think the atmosphere of the poem points to your interpretation, though.

    In answer to your question – I don’t know, but I have wondered.


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