Poem - 'Resistance'

Resistance                                                                           By Simon Armitage

 

It’s war again: a family

     carries its family out of a pranged house

                 under a burning thatch.

 

The next scene smacks

     of archive newsreel: platforms and trains

                 (never again, never again),

 

toddlers passed

     over heads and shoulders, lifetimes stowed

                 In luggage racks.

 

It’s war again: unmistakable smoke

     on the near horizon mistaken

                 for thick fog. Fingers crossed.

 

An old blue tractor

     tows an armoured tank

                 into no-man’s land.

 

It’s the ceasefire hour: godspeed the columns

     of winter coats and fur-lined hoods,

                 the high-wire walk

 

over buckled bridges

     managing cases and bags,

                 balancing west and east – godspeed.

 

It’s war again: the woman in black

     gives sunflower seeds to the soldier, insists

                 his marrow will nourish

 

the national flower. In dreams

     Let bullets be birds, let cluster bombs

                 burst into flocks.

 

False news is news

     with the pity

                 edited out. It‘s war again:

 

an air-raid siren can’t fully mute

     the cathedral bells –

                 let’s call that hope.


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