Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pro Deo, Regina at Patria

Blows rained down
monotonous as a metronome.
Each fist, each boot,
each rifle butt struck home.
A coil of agony bloomed
on cowering flesh and bone
and, should he dare to moan
the rain came down again until
he lay as still and silent as the stone.

And did those bloodied boots
march in perfect time
through some fast fading garrison town
where dizzy patriots lined the route
to welcome home their own
and did the fanfare of brass drown
each gnawing doubt?

Each night you watch his body
Twist and toss and turn
As through the lonely hours
You trace his memories burn
Across a ruined face.

Can’t transport you back to that place.
The walls and the floor of the cell
long since sanitised, hosed clean.
No one with the stomach to tell
what happened there.
All evidence of hell expunged
save for this trampled soil,
just one more unmarked grave.

Latin scholars come to my aid! Not sure of my title gramatically speaking, so corrections welcome. I think it is important to set these homecoming parades in context. They are designed as sops to the serving troops who will soon be forgotten and left to rot, suffering from the stress caused by what they have seen and done and of course they also serve to airbrush out all the civilian victims of military action. We all know about attrocities committed by the British Army, but name me some soldiers who have been brought to justice for committing them.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Warning Signs

On green benches MPs doze.
The PM strikes a confident pose.
Deceptively the canker grows.

Speculators cut and run.
Where did all our money go? Who knows?
Unchecked the canker grows.

Crooked bankers’ personal profits soar.
Ruined banks rush like lemmings to foreclose.
Greedily the canker grows.

Supermarkets shuttered.
Unsold cars parade in rows.
Silently the canker grows.

Steelworks rust and groan.
Pits and factories close.
Swiftly now the canker grows.

The broken city bleeds,
Its children food for crows.
Merciless the canker grows.

The lark falls from the sky.
The oily river overflows.
Unbridled the canker grows.

Deserts expand. The oceans rise.
Whichever way the hot wind blows,
Relentlessly the canker grows.

Deception, destruction, disaster, death
Follow each other like falling dominoes.
How openly the canker grows.

No use your bitter words.
The comfort of ignorance is what you chose.
Too late now to understand how canker grows.

Who was it that posed the question... Socialism or Barbarism?

Monday, March 02, 2009

Off the record briefing

You shade your eyes in vain.
Your thoughts are plain for us to see
And as the colours seem to drain
From all your words, we
Note the well worn artifice,
The carefully crafted, chiselled phrase,
The way you’ve learnt to splice
Each lie with truth in order to amaze,
Bewilder, turn logic upside down,
Each subtle pause, intake of breath,
Each pout and tut and frown,
The perfect timing of your stealth,
Your craft, your wit, your expertise,
How easily unwary minds take in,
Absorb each word you please,
As if to doubt were mortal sin.

Like bindweed, all your thoughts take hold,
Choke questions just before they germinate
So, surely all senses grow both dull and cold.
Men lose the will to contemplate.
‘This must be so,’ you hear them chime
Whilst in their heads neat headlines form.
In such a way, before you know it, time
Has slipped away and a warm, warm
Sense of certainty becomes the norm.

In such a way,
The very air becomes corrupt,
Crops wither, the light palls,
Mass graves yawn open,
Whole peoples disappear
And civilisation falls.

Even Kafka could not have come up with the idea that 'It's a good day to bury bad news.' Only out of the mouth of a spin doctor .....