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

ON THE EVE AND AFTER THE WAR

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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