It was always known as ‘The Morgue’—
the right smell of disinfectant,
a gloom deep enough for Frankenstein,
the hushed expectancy before
the sudden plunge into oblivion
when they killed the lights:
then all Hell broke loose,
as if the last trumpet had sounded:
bodies rose, the rattle of Jaffas,
seats banged like coffin lids, girls shrieked,
bright shafts of light divided
the righteous from the lairs.
But on the screen played more potent ghosts
and slowly quiet and calm descended on that chaos—
the ‘Eyes and Ears of the World’ showed us
Bikini in 1946, the Indian dispossessed,
Superman triumph over zoot suit Satans,
and finally the old King to bring us back and to our feet.
Our brick and fibro Globe, where through a grey hole
in the back wall people escaped to other worlds
leaving behind the bodies which would later
walk through the smell of Williams’ first bread,
Hughes’ smoke, and the drift of sewage from Murdering Gully.
Slowly our lives come back to us, we hear, we see
the shadows leave us and we walk among them.
© Julian Croft