The terrible consequences
Of war go on.
Corpse after corpse
Arrives home,
Flag-draped and honoured.
Lives ended or amputated.
Medals pinned and pictures framed.
A gallery of disguises,
Masking the blasted bones
And terminated blood
Of those who fight.

… and in the morning

The injured soldier
Stared out of the TV.
Sweet, blond and clean.
Cap and badges bright,
On the breakfast sofa.
No blood to be seen.
His passive resignation
Made a telling stillness.
Uniform freshly pressed,
Folded neatly over
His three new stumps.
Left, right, left.
What’s left?
Only one arm,
One eye and
The courage to die.
His massive reduction
Moves us to cry,
Why, why, why?
Our boiling anger pumps.
Is he our hero
Or our fool,
Our folly
Or our tool?

LEST WE FORGET                                    © Will Barton 2011

MEMORY (for Libya)

The long
Creaking memory
Of the world
Will contain
A pox
A madness
A devil strain
A germ rejected
By the sane
An evil rust
No map or record
Wants to retain
But it must
This gross bacteria
Defiantly projected
Into the library
Of vile histories
Will seep and stink
Where cold academia
With disinfected ink
Will try to decode
Its mysteries
The long
Leaking memory
Of the world
Will cry               © Will Barton 2011