Let out of the crate where he’s spent the night
Bertie steps gingerly onto the grass,
A one dog furry cloud he makes his pass
Across the lawn collecting moisture right
Before he squats, squirts, adds a bit to spite
The green, lifts his tail, shits then licks his arse,
Seeks out the birds whose song drowns out the cars
On the motorway, barks and they take flight.
Honour satisfied, he heads back inside,
Takes a running jump and I take a blow.
He slobbers on my face my neck my hair
Banishing sleep as he lies alongside
Delivering garden dew with a show
Of enthusiasm which I don’t share.
Forty six thousand tons of twisted steel
Litter the bottom of the Denmark Strait.
Fourteen hundred men met a dreadful fate
When the Hood exploded, to reveal
The brutally identical seal
To their stories. Hitherto disparate
Strands cut. Fire and water extirpate
All life, all ability to feel
Leaving nothing but a feast for fishes
In place of the manifold hopes and dreams
Of men who’d had a life before the war
And would have had one still, with their wishes
For friendship, love, food, sex, anything seems
Preferable to the mid-ocean floor.
Did he really matter? I ask. I
Ponder the death of my Uncle who died
With hundreds of others. His mother cried
When the boy with the telegram called by
To deliver the news. I suppose. My
Birth was in the future. Were she dry-eyed
Mother Courage, gifting children’s lives I’d
Never know. The charge levied to incise
His name at Chatham enraged his parents.
They baulked, so he went unremarked save for
The brother he’d sung with at New Year in
Welsh raising pennies for treats, sister, once
Worshipping younger brother, cousin sure
To carry his torch. He mattered to kin.
Is death the end? We cannot know for sure
However strong our faith doubt must remain
For those who’ve passed are mute. In vain
We seek answers from them who’ve gone before.
We should live life as if there is no more
And help our fellows to live theirs, sustain
With love the bonds we share with all, refrain
From hatred, ego, greed, those dogs of war
That drive the killing madness as men take
From others what they hold themselves most dear.
‘Live and let live’ must become our watchwords.
Tolerance begets trust, once men forsake
Violence then knowledge vanquishes fear
And Perfect Peace leads mankind’s march onwards.
Traffic-belched vampire fumes acidified
The air, drained life from stones atop the slope
Where the Acropolis bones, picked bare, mope,
Mourning the empire that in its pride supplied
Phidias the wherewithal to provide
The host of wonders lain within its scope.
Truly temples are graves for human hope
Shattered aspirations clawing, bestride
The ancient seat of power diminished
By looting justified as protective
Custody for remains that survived for
Millennia once history finished
With the glory that was Greece, effective
Anointment of London’s glories in store?
Where are they now? The people who once touched Our lives but then disappeared from view To enjoy endless time off in lieu, Recompense for the numbered days spent clutched To our bosoms, before love’s stems were scutched, Pounded to pieces by rough edges too Diamond hard for years to wear them through To soft toleration of being hutched Together, sharing chores and life’s little Triumphs, as we have done for decades since. It’s not regret exactly but sometimes Chance will start a chain of thought and it’ll Awaken dormant feelings and evince Reflection that the bell tolls not, it chimes.