. ON THE EVE AND AFTER THE WAR | London Progressive Journal
A non-partisan journal of the left.


Sun 11th Nov 2018

The evening before the battle they were dancing.

Young women of all kinds appeared

as if carried on the wind from the hills.

Every man had a partner of choice.

The blood that would be shed was rising

in the rage of desire before the dawn.

The women knew what was expected,

discreetly lifting their skirts in the darkness.


The table is arranged for a meeting.

Sunlight throws shadows on the window

of a room prepared for war.

A child might make of them phantoms.

On the wall are maps of a continent

where every country has its colour.

Bold lines mark the boundaries.

Sudden conflicts can occur

when all the world is calm

evidence of the half-hidden,

not visible on the ground,

as on this ordinary afternoon

a cause for war may be sensed

among rumours of innocence.


Voices are silenced by the sound

of crashing glass on frost-hard ground

Rumours of angels float through the mind.

Ideals in cities rise too late to save the world.


When I was a child of five

how did I understand death?

The old lady across the road

suddenly disappeared.

They told me she had died.

How did I understand

then what has become for me curious,

the way we vanish from history

into fire and ashes?

Our fears and passions

are soon the Nevermore

of an unlit hearth,

of an unswept entrance hall,

of a heartbeat seen to fail.

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