Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The dead speak

The dead have silent teeth and empty throats,
they have no voice with which to speak, to cry
of all the horrors they have seen and been and
known; to call for justice, freedom from the

power of those who kill to claim what is not
theirs, the land of others, who suffocate children
in waves of dust and shredded metal moments,
where blood and tears and destiny are driven

deep into the waiting earth; dressing broken
fragments of their lives, their souls, their
hearts, that costuming of evil which war does
primp and posture into place, for those who

are the victims, for those who cannot speak,
and for whom the only hope can be for others,
that their throats are not empty, their teeth
are not silent, their words are not crushed

beneath the boot of evil and injustice and
military might, and that in the darkened
quietness of this awful, suppurating wound,
their only hope is that the voices of the living

will be speaking out for those who lie strewn,
fleshed like scattered crops, in that harvest
which bleeds and grieves and slowly seeds
the fields of future justice in aching Palestine.



Those flattened fields of Flanders
scream of battered souls
and muffled howls which pressed
beneath time's tread has crushed
the cry of hurt beneath firm soil.

The heaving shape of shouldered pain
is locked by grasses -green terrain,
which grips and holds imprisoned fast,
the rotted world which once had passed:
in steady tread and huddled roar,
a raging spread of weeping sore.

The silence now holds heavy court
upon the place where thousands fought
and died with no-one there to see
them sucked beneath the seething sea;
a muddy grave which beckons still
with glutinous grin alive and well
beneath the veil of fragile green.

1988 - following a visit to the 'trenches in Ypres.



Forgotten fields give birth in blood,

scarlet reaches high, as monkish hood,

reminders of the truth of hidden death,

memories of sudden, full stopped breath,

as stone remembers flesh as earthly food.

Cast corpses on the breast of bitter day,

chewed slow through mud and icy rain,

they gather in the darkened halls of youth;

the years denied.

Time does hold the brush forever high,

the colours fade, the paint does slowly dry,

and only in the stories can they live,

the gift which grief and hope will always give!

Light steps upon the terraces of  war;

the sacrifice is honoured evermore.



  1. This was extremely powerful with the punchline really coming at the end... could fit any place where civilians are put between the pressure of oppression and the hatred of revenge.. I think we made the same conclusion that blank-verse is fitting for writing about war... This is one of my favorite of yours.

    1. Yes, it could be any place of war named at the end.....sadly.

  2. I have visited many, and I mean many, museums, monuments, memorials and trenches, they always move me. Even the tiniest graveyard is a poignant place to see.

  3. dang...that first emotive...I felt tears coming when you were talking about their throats not being empty and their voices not silent...for those killed or gave them a bit of a voice....

  4. Such beautiful and powerful writing. I especially ached reading the first one....future justice for Palestine.........we live in hope. Your writing is amazing! Three powerful writes, each one giving a voice to all of the lost and fallen. Bless you.

  5. All three were great reads. Especially enjoyed that first one though- "in waves of dust and shredded metal moments," was a killer line.