[Image- painting – by Robbin T Milne – with permission]
No matter how tall the leaves of grass grow,
the snow will fall again on the field.
The rabbits are running now,
nettles feasting on sunshine,
and the bees are minding their own business,
No matter my friend has lost his friend,
there will be friends again.
There is a cancer in the fields,
long shadows over hedgerows,
birds I cannot name sing without melody,
and life growing underfoot.
How are the children now? Who are the authorities?
Are there any youngsters without tears flowing,
without tears repressed, stifled?
There are shards on the road, and dust,
buttercups and dock leaves,
foxgloves, and infants on the roads.
An iron gate opens,
an iron gate shuts,
a horse looking for attention,
a gray standing still,
maybe there are fresh eggs.
Why were the children born?
There is horseshit everywhere I look
Clean it up, someone – I’ve said enough.
God bless America,
The horses have bolted,
who’s in charge here?
The leaves of grass are growing,
whether we like it or not.
The seaweed lorry
How long have I driven a seaweed lorry to Roundstone
past fuchsia and montbretia?
How long has the wife practised acupuncture,
the daughter dried dulse?
You’d wonder as you pitchfork the algae,
watch strips slip off, litter the lane.
They can take their time,
wait their turn to pass,
I have many more journeys in me,
many more days leading hearse and caravan.
They can all take their turn,
why should they pass?
I’ve driven this way too long now to be forced off it,
seen their urgent béasa,
refused to be edged off my bóthar.
There were houses full
– not enough rooms for the children –
before there weren’t children for the rooms.
I’ve seen them all off,
I’ve still gone back for more seaweed.
Image by Jonathan Wilkins
Watching you watching
her play in the swimming pool
a lizard soaks sun
Lost on Bastille Day
‘Let them eat heads
and suck sockets dry
before they answer “Why”‘.
I’ve lost my count of children
– the adults never counted –
lost to the flags of war.
It’s said that ten valuable ones
were crushed on Thursday night
promenading where the English played.
Others say Fallujah girls and boys
were incinerated over falafels
and their fathers cried for ever.
If there are any grandchildren awaiting birth
they’ll be primed like birds of prey
to strike without warning.
Will you count the loss for us?