Posts Tagged ‘poem’

Saboteurs (Repost)

July 28, 2018

Eye to Eye With Their Ally


In the milky light of the bleak dawn
Agents and saboteurs awake
Preparing to assassinate
Some dark lieutenant
Of the occupying power

They will not be acclaimed
They will not even be named
They will remain
Unknown, a footnote
They dislocate our fate

We wait. Where are they now?
Missing, presumed dead,
He said. Martyred
Wanton devastation
The butchery of me.

They took lessons
In the art of destruction
Sabotage is a craft
They were taught
How to kill
With their bare hands

A veil was drawn
Over their future
They did not know
What their mission was
Until the final moment

When they were despatched
By air and by sea
Smuggled in by gunboat
And parachute
Eye to eye with their ally,
With their enemy
Upstart amateurs
Armed only with cyanide
Inside a suicide pill.

Dedicated to member of SOE
(see soon to be established on Drowning In Academia)

Pale Morning

April 7, 2017


She stands
On the parapet
Of the bridge
Staring down
At the sparkling blue
Of the water below

Her body slices
Through the stillness
Of the pale morning
At one with the air
And translucent

She descends,
Greeting the dawn
She is ethereal
She is a ghost
Who slips through the cracks
In your consciousness

She bids you farewell
She no longer needs you
She exists now
Only in dreams
And in fragments
Of memory

And in the stories
You whisper to your children
On long, dark winter nights

A City Segmented

March 28, 2017



We can never put this together again
Fragments and shreds. A city
Spartan, skeletal, segmented.
Utterly disjointed. Machine gun fire, missiles
Emerge from the mouth of the enemy
It worsens daily

Perhaps they regard themselves as God’s mouthpiece,
Oracle of the deceased or of some great
And glorious historical figure
For many decades now we have toiled
To purge this filth from our spoiled land
We have not progressed

It a fruitless task
And the citizens know it
We crawl like ants across the yawning
Void that used to be tomorrow, that used to be the morning
Over fields laced with landmines
To restore the colossal castles and towers and tawdry powers

The once cloudless sky
Now desecrated by the dye
Of foreign occupation, of a desolate nation
Now as pitiful and forgotten as some dead peasant brat
Daughter of an ancient and useless serf
The flesh, bones and blood: a country crushed

Order displaced by chaos, grace displaced by anarchy
It took some effort
To create such a catastrophe
On endless, sleepless nights I stand right here
A lone partisan sheltering
From a brutal storm

Watching the soldiers
As they stalk the streets
I am betrothed to this decaying
Carcass of a city, knowing
That there will never be
Any other life but this for me

The Confessional

February 4, 2017


The Confessional

She enters the confessional
‘Oh Father I have sinned’
The world beyond has dimmed
A separate dimension exists
In the oak-panelled box
A land where everything is forgiven
Sins obliterated, guilt banished

She tells the priest
Barely discernible, beyond the grille
An insubstantial shadow
Yet still comforting
‘Father it has been so long,
Half a life time
Since my last confession’

This lapsed Catholic has returned
To be wrapped in a cloak
Of warm patriarchy
To be clasped in the hand of God
The fat controller of the universe
Enveloped in the trinity
And rocked to sleep

She is fearful now. For it is time
To leave. She does not want to live
In the world beyond the confessional
She could stay in this dark place forever
A perpetual religious apprentice
With the priest beyond the grille, acting
As her direct line to God

‘Oh no, my dear,’ the priest replies
‘That is not our purpose. Our aim
Is to arm you with faith and courage
And then unleash you onto the world
And they and back and watch
And applaud and cheer
As they make a martyr of you.’


Celebrity Messiah

January 28, 2017



I watch you scream down from the pulpit
An anonymous speck in a vast congregation
You shake your fists at the sky
As the sun bursts from a cluster of clouds
Madmen shriek back at you
One who believes he is the Messiah
God’s sole representative on Earth

Never doubt my knowledge, you say
Never doubt my wisdom
Your tune is irresistible
You are rendered powerful
By the chanting crowd before you
They see God glimmering in your eyes
They hear Armageddon in your voice

They are intoxicated by you
They are bewitched and beguiled
As you depict blood and suffering
In glorious and beautiful detail
You describe every imaginable daemon
They stand, cheer and beg for more
They are God’s newly recruited army

They surround and sustain you
Some see you as a saviour
Others as a screaming psychopath
To your enemies you scream
‘Rot in hell’ as your invoke
The acrid odour of long dead heretics
And burning witches

You are captured in a camera flash
And all over the world people
Who will never meet you
Watch your flickering image
On their television screens
Few can look upon you
Without something dying inside

Members of your congregation
Reach deep into their pockets
Purchasing immortality. I hear
The clattering of coins
As they fall into your collection basket
And iI imagine a huger and greedy grin
Forming in your mind

I knew you when you were
A street corner Messiah
Amidst the neon lights and skyscrapers
Of a vast and lonely city
How high you have climbed. How tall
You stand. But I know
That someday even you will fall


December 30, 2013

She saw the spirit.
They injected her, they held her down.
She recalled the glossy red shoes of her childhood.
Magic shoes that would carry her wherever she wanted to go.


December 14, 2012


Governments in the twilight of their reign.
The stench of corruption
Assailed by profanities and cat calls
From other prisoners as we walk
Down the prison corridors
And slowly we begin to wipe the blood off the walls
A precipice, an abyss,
Sky – diluted blood – red orange – surrenders to the gloom

Kingdom of Cold Hands

December 12, 2012



The Kingdom of Cold Hands

Wintertime: warm breath in frigid air
Dog walking weather

No objections here.  The animal strains
On his  leash, beneath trees

Bare and stooped, some crooked and crippled
Trapped in a state of advanced decay

Green to grey as the year marches onward
I inhale.  There are ice crystals in the air.

Tendrils of smoke from every chimney
Becoming a part of the season’s steady breath

Using our kindness for kindling
We make a fire and gather round

Some speculate that the shrieking wind
Is the disapproving voice of the almighty

For winter is charming and disarming
And throughout this season wise witches

Escape from the pages of fairy tales
And wander freely through the forest



November 25, 2011


The odour of death made me cry out loud,
the breath of the tomb
The rancid blood of the womb.
These were the disasters of revolutionary times,
of unfamiliar climes, of endless night,
For these are the inhabitants of the slums,
they are not like you and me.
A hollow hope sustains them.
And our pity demeans them

We judge them collectively from afar.
There is no singularity here.
We do not approach them directly.
We have never even met them
They are vermin, sewer rats.
We return to our townhouses,
our cars, our children, our lives
Enfeebled, simple common place facts
which do not make it into history books
or dry academic texts.

A Bridegroom Brings His Bride Home

November 19, 2010

A minister of state navigates
Peasants and citizens travel on the same road
In box carts, eating dry bread and drinking ersatz coffee
Round faces at the window fleeing perpetual turmoil
They reap death from those fields. It is winter now
And they endeavour to escape it. And these
Are the rough hewn rocks that will be her foundation

The Black Stallion physician tends to her
The princesses play with a solid gold ball, batting
It from hand to hand. Bathing in cool fountains
There is a grand brass band. She meets the servants
From scullery maid to butler, from cook to housekeeper
Downstairs is where they dwell
The inhabitants of that country remain a mystery

The maids’ heads bow as if they are ashamed of their existence
The doors of the bridal sweet swing wide open

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