Pathétique

It’s my favourite time of the year. Will it always be like this, until there’s nothing left to kill?

What working of the mind,
what connections linking eye to hand,
thought and desire to grasping,
breaks the perfection of morning peace,
the majesty of oaks laden with sun,
morning bustle and flutter of birds,
silence of curled sleep in secret hollows,
with the bark and bellow of gunshot?

Is there a darkness in the soul,
a blindness to life and beauty,
to the beating pulse of life,
an inability to let alone, let life walk
the path it chooses?

Sadness clouds the cloudless sky,
dims the sun, cools the rising heat,
and the bushes round the house fill
with blackbirds, robins, finches, fleeing
the outlying trees where death falls
in fury from the sheltering leaves.

What did it say?

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What did it say, the bright murmuring water,

What did it whisper to you, my love?

What did it tell you about the red slaughter

Of pigeon and partridge and turtle dove?

 

It passed by me weeping clear tears of sorrow,

The stream that carried the bloodstained tale,

It said that the same would be true of the morrow,

The guns would be after sweet thrushes and quail.

 

What will you do when the bullets are singing?

Where will you stand when they fly, my love?

What will you do when the heron is winging,

Will you be the velvet or iron glove?

 

The water is raging, love, hear the trees moaning,

Nothing is still when blood stains the dark loam,

No voice should be silent in grief when alone wing

The dark-feathered owls come to carry them home.