The Living We Love, The Dead That We Mourn


Goya, man-war

For the living we love,

the dead that we mourn,

a question long-asked,

without answer remains;

why men kill for money,

in crimes they call wars,

arranged over dinner,

and the finest Chablis.


You hear what they say,

‘it’s what has to be’,

‘they’re evil you know’,

‘there’s no other way’,

chanted like prayers

on the video screens,

by those artful with lies,

it’s not what it seems,

who solemnly state,

‘it’s for justice, dear friends’

“for liberty, for freedom,

‘by god, for your life,’

so no answer comes,

so it’s little I know,

but behold, I see Justice

now rides a pale horse

and carries her banner,


upside turned down.




Nagasaki Warning





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.


War Questions


What will a kiss profit me, or thee,

When her lips are cold as the icing sea,

What will a smile for her life now,

When her eyes are blind to the golden bough,

What will a touch, an embrace arouse,

When her heart lies still in a bloodied blouse,

What will a cry, “Oh, lord, save us,” bring,

When gods are false as the praises they sing,

What will tears wash away in the night,

When the fountain is deep and far from the light,

What will the words of holy books heal,

When the soul of man is bayonet steel,

But though I ask and ask and ask, I can no answer hear,

To make me wise, nor bring me cheer,

So dig the grave sure, I shall my dear,

And impart my only ring,

As turtle doves swirl past and sing,

And village bells in mourning ring.