War and Terror

Hope is Safe

I have a friend from my Manchester days whose daughter Hope lives there ...

Hope's mum tweets
That Hope is safe
Not at the Arena
Not a fan
Too busy sweating
Her exams
Hope texted mum at six twenty-nine
Hope is fine

Hope's mum's relieved
But still bereaved
For all the others
Devastated
At death-cult murder perpetrated
In the name of god
Why?

Warming His Coals

My (unsuccessful) entry to the 2017 Stanley Spencer Poetry Competition run by the Cookham Festival, celebrating its 50th anniversary and Spencer's 125th. It is about Spencer's 'Shipbuilding' paintings.

 

Frank was the Furnace Man, earnest and warm
The firebox of Shipbuilding, heat where there’s cold
He’s Chalmers by name and embraced for his charm
Stoking the fire made him strong in the arm
His gift to his workmates whatever their roles
Was letting them dry with a seat on his coals

Liberation

Looks like this, does it, liberation?
Isolated from supplies, routes closed, blown from the skies
Barrel bombs bowled along alleys
Enclaved civilians tweet from their graves, farewells from beneath
Rubble, the stones where their homes used to be
Aleppo cries, crumbles, defeated, they see
Tyranny returning, triumphant, burning
Inhabitants gathered, culled, or running for their lives
Out of the city, fleeing as they wouldn't if they had actually been freed
No, this is not what liberation looks like.

BoJo Logic

Boris arms the Saudis
They use those arms to kill
He says if we don't arm them
Then other countries will

So when I next see Boris
His nuts will meet my knee
And if I get arrested
Then this will be my plea:

Oh officer, I claim my act
Was for the greater good
And if I hadn't done it
Some other fucker would

I Will Be With You, Whatever

I'll be with you though peaceful options haven't been exhausted
I will be with you crushing life with military forces
I'm with you, George, through desert, storm and flood
I'm with you to the final drop of someone else's blood

Oh George, be sure I have your back, we'll raze the land together
Dear George, know I will be with you whatever

Crazed Loner

R.I.P. Jo Cox MP

Crazed loner
Stay-at-homer
Helpline phoner
Hummer and groaner
Window licker
Timebomb ticker

Deranged and estranged
He's a stabber, a shooter
Overly obsessed with his computer

He's nothing to do with us, you see
No link to white supremacy
Not our responsibility
We're pillars of civility
Not killers, no culpability

Verses from the First World War: Conscientious Objectors

Published in Solidarity 397, 9 March 2016

Once the Military Service Act come into force in 1916, men aged 18-41 had to apply to a Military Tribunal if they believed that they had a reason not to be drafted. The majority had health, work or family reasons, but 2% were Conscientious Objectors (COs): men who objected to military service because they objected to war.

War Poetry: Challenging the Nationalist Narrative

From its declaration of war in 1914, Britain’s ruling class appealed to patriotism to boost its support and its military recruitment. By 1916 both were flagging. On the pages of socialist newspaper The Herald, poets used verse to question both nationalism and the war’s aims. When the government asked men to fight for King and Country, was it shielding its true motives?

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