Nagasaki Warning

Wu fan, atomic bomb watercolour

The news came through the din of war,

That things were seen not seen before,

Nor told in tales, nor prophecies,

Nor legends known, our histories,

Of lights and shadows roaming wild,

The veil of death on every child,

The news came through of shaking earth,

Of flaming winds and thunderous might,

Of vapours born a bloody birth,

Of melting skin in dark of night,

The news came through of cities burned

By blast of flame, by flash of light

As women turned to shadows yearned

For evening songs, a morning bright,

The news came through, the last we heard,

Of madmen dancing on a tomb,

Who jeered at life with every word,

And bled the blood from every womb.

Then we turned towards the sky,

Towards the rushing, roaring sound,

And, for an instant, wondered why.

    Destroyer of the World


Before my eyes there spreads the sea, beyond the sea the sky,

The sea is black, is green, is grey, as winds rise high, or die,

The sky appears a soft blue veil, stitched with clouds of whitest light,

They turn a soft and rosy hue, when day withdraws for night.

And there, just there, a line appears, a slash of death, in waters deep,

A shark perhaps, or killer whale, why sailors’ widows weep,

A line cascading, foamy white, carved by knife-edged fin,

As though Good was hunting Evil, in depths of all our sin,

But then there breaches rounded back, but no strange whale is this,

The fin becomes a U-boat’s sail, the venting air, a hiss,

A klaxon screams, as water streams, from deck and missile pods,

The periscope and antennae are like tangled fishing rods,

Then men appear, in open hatch, who scan the sea and shore,

They seem relaxed, just taking air, as if there was no war,

But, with loud alarm, then hatches down, she slips beneath the waves,

To hide among the darkest deeps, as leopards hide in caves,

Death on edge, expectant, waiting for its cue,

For stealthy, silent, submarines know what they must do,

And so it’s gone, preparing soon, for rockets to be hurled,

They named it well, the madmen, Destroyer of the World.

  Our Emptiness


The sunlight dapples the blank waiting page,

From the window, shouts of children at play,

My bones remind me, to me a lost age,

A lone crow calls out-but what does he say?

The electric fan whirs through a hot, sultry day, 

Endlessly turning like a mechanical cage,

Brushing stale air from its spiraling blades,

As she walks through the room,

In a long silken dress, beauty in movement,

But not a word said-

Exchanging only our emptiness.

Street Night


A dog barked and no one shut it up,

The wind sighed through the night,

With the stars flecked in her hair,

Still, the snow slept on the naked ground,

Unaware of the dog, unaware of the rattle

Of the beggar’s cup, held out too often,

To sleep in peace, filled only with misery,

“Spare some change, mister? Hey buddy,

Help a guy out,” the ones without hope,

Hoping for something, not knowing why or what,

Standing in the shadows of other peoples’ dreams,

A young girl shouts, “fuck you!” on the street,

To a friend, to a cop, to no one,

And the wind softly sighs through the trees.

I Am A NATO Soldier


I am a NATO soldier, I’ve travelled far and wide,

There’s lots of killing to be done, and I do it all with pride,

I’ve soldiered in Afghanistan, I’ve soldiered in Ukraine,

I love the smell of rifle fire, and never feel their pain,

I’ve killed them by the thousands in Korea and Iraq,

It’s all the same to me who dies, the white, the brown, the black,

The enemy is unknown to me, and that’s the way of war,

To shoot them down is lots of fun, while peace is just a bore,

They tell me I’m a saviour – of all democracy,

But then I’m told to overthrow whomever they decree,

And I follow all their orders, as I agreed to do,

So yesterday I killed a man and cut his wife in two,

Because my sergeant said so, no point to reason why,

But they were a bit suspicious and so they had to die,

And if at night we’re troubled by faces in our dreams,

The chaplain reassures us that nothing’s as it seems,

So on we move from war to war, our work will never slow,

They make films of what we do to help the children grow,

Now they’ve sent me near to Russia, and looks like China too,

But who they are I’m never sure, nor what they really do,

For once you’ve joined the army, there’s nothing more to say,

You shout hurrah with fervour and reach out your hand for pay,

But now I sense confusion, from the bottom to the top,

This new war seems to bother them, I hear all life could stop.

The House Was Old

Despair photo96022541

The house was old on top the hill

The trees all dead and withered,

As if some plague had entered there,

And death and demons gathered,

Yet something lured me through its door,

A longing, deep in me, for shadows,

As if my mind had come unhinged,

Shot through with poisoned arrows,

For around me spun a wicked world,

Where looming doom now hovered,

So on I moved through rooms decayed,

And saw in each a grotesque vision, 

Of such cruel, and vile and fiendish things,

Of madmen sprouting donkey ears, 

All braying in derision,

That my mind became untethered,

Until in one I saw a pale blue light,

That hung, in mid-air, somehow, humming,

And from it heard a distant song, now forgot,

That urged me on with constant thrumming,

To turn about and trace the path,

That wound back down that hill,

To find the land where beauty reigned,

And love, unknown except in legend, 

That, perhaps, could make us happy, 

But with each slow descending step,

There appeared new horrors – never-ending –

Until I reached a vast and empty plain,

A river through it wending,

And close nearby a single tree,

So old and gnarled and twisted,

Deformed it seemed, demented,

On which there hung, on rotting bough,

A silvered mirror, framed in gold,

In which the future was reflected,

Or so claimed an ancient crone, 

Who ancient stars collected,

In her temple of the damned,

But on looking in that glass so old,

I startled, shrieked, I moaned and shuddered,

For there, with gaping eyes I saw, too hideous to describe,

Too terrible to see,

That apelike thing they call mankind, leering back at me. 


The Closet


There it hangs all limp and old,

In the closet dust and mould,

Was this the one I wore that night

She kissed me soft and held me tight?

Or did I wear the blue suit then,

My mind confuses who and when,

And there, the tie another gave me,

Who loved me sure, or was it maybe.

Funny that, the thoughts that pass, 

Like floating seeds among the grass,

Which ride the wind and journey through,

Blessed by sun and morning dew,

And there the coat I wore at twenty,

When life was young and hopes were plenty,

That night I longed for her and waited,

Now ragged, threadbare, musty, faded,

Aye, bad things happened, good ones too,

But best not think too much or stew,

Let’s close the door on older times,

I hear the wind arouse the chimes,

Let’s sing and dance to newer rhymes.  

A New Year’s Litany


This is for those who struggle through life

Alone, without help, so reach for the knife,

Who can’t take the troubles, the pain and the strife,

This is for those born poor without hope

Fed images on screens of Prince Harry and soap,

Stopped before starting, so reach out for dope,

For the underpaid workers told to suffer with less,

By the men who enslaved them and created the mess,

And their fatuous wives, in their glittering dress,

For those driven mad by the twelve hour day,

Locked in a warehouse so dark they all pray

To win the state lotto, they can’t live on their pay,

For those in the office, bored out of their mind,

For the ignorant led by the morally blind,

And the many who know not how to be kind,

For those forced to vote for capitals’ democracies

Those vice-ridden totalitarian hypocrisies,

Whose voice is ignored, unless on their knees,

For the victim of charlatans, tricksters and whores,

Who get what they ask for when they open the doors,

And in march the black shirts with their new nazi laws,

For the ones who resist, and are beaten or shot,

Or made to look fools, or just left to rot,

Thinking they’re heard, but simply they’re not,

For those who still believe that all will be well,

When we’ve already made this planet a hell,

That sound you hear is the toll of the bell.

A Greeting From Existence


Stars glittered in the clear night sky while on my back I lay,

Gazing into infinity, enfolded in eternity, wondering of my way,

And wondered why I wondered, and why I could not say

Or speak those silent thoughts for which no words are fit,

And were they thoughts at all when they never could be writ,

Nor understood by anyone, like scrolls in an ancient pit,

Those mysteries of unknown minds, lost in buried time,

We’re anonymous in multitude, our voices locked in mime,

While priests tell us day and night our nature is a crime,

And force us with morality to lose our peace of mind,

When all we need is do no harm and to others just be kind,

Which martyrs walking stony paths would do well to keep in mind,

But then my thoughts were broken when a meteor arced across the sky,

A sudden flash and blaze of light was born and then did fade and die,

A greeting from Existence – a brightly waved good-bye.