Dulce et decorum est
As Owen wrote, the ancient lie
Inscribed upon the soldier's breast
And told to men when sent to die
But tell me, for commemoration
Below the flag that's raised to fool us
Did they really die for nation
Or rather for the nation's rulers?
Photo: Wilfred Owen
This article was published in two parts in Solidarity newspaper, beginning in issue 388 on 6 January 2016.
Picture: My grandfather, Albert Henry Booth, who was in the Navy at Gallipoli, with his sister Victoria (Queenie).
Follow the links for a shocking story of a Stalinist anti-semitic purge.
London is loyal, London's a comrade
London has toiled through many a bomb raid
London's a leader, London's a fighter
London is feeling the noose closing tighter
Those in London's seats of power
Are sending suspects to the tower
London's former champions sense
There's too much foreign influence
A century ago, with Britain at war, the Woman's Dreadnought published this poem:
- to man the comfortable
Respect for war dead is not proved
By the depth of bow you're showing
But by the mountains you have moved
To stop their numbers growing.
This poem was included in the anthology Poems for Jeremy Corbyn (Shoestring Press, 2016)
and published by the Daily Mirror in September 2016.
A reflection on my son visiting the Stonewall Inn because of his passionate commitment to LGBT equality, only to find that he couldn't go in.
I remember the age of consent
cut from twenty-one
A landmark among the battles
our struggles have won
And now it's the age of admission
the Stonewall Insists
In 1848, in response to the 300-strong Convention for Woman's Rights in Seneca Falls (USA) and its Declaration of Sentiments, a Philadelphia newspaper urged the city's ladies not to join the new movement and become women but to stay as "wives, belles, virgins and mothers". Here's my poetic response:
If Nicholas Winton were saving the children today
His Transport of Kindness would camp out in fear at Calais
Compassion is easier cast back through history's mist
Abhorrence for migrants but Oscars for Schindler's List
No humans may cross here, this tunnel is only for freight
Hurrah for the Blackshirts and see off the swarms at the gate
They've kind words for history, now for the iron-clad fist
Coldness for Calais and Oscars for Schindler's List
The lords of the fortress will draw bloody lines in the sand
Armed guard at the border instead of the helping hand
They'll trample the memory of saviours whose statues they've kissed
With borders of barbed wire and Oscars for Schindler's List