Friday, 24 April 2015

Poem for Today called 131

A  sombre poem today for a sombre story



Coffins should be sad enough

even for those you don’t know.

John Donne still making sense

After all these centuries.


The news is the backing track

as I read. I’m tuning it out,

the occasional glance thrown its way

due to the screen’s hypnotic pull.


I snap to the story at the image

two dozen or more coffins

laid out in not quite accurate

columns and rows.


Dead refugees in a strange lands,

caught mid leap between

fear and desperate hope

by the hostility of the sea.  


The story moves on.

Soldiers bear them in teams of six

arms round shoulders for stability

gently shepherd their burden in church.


On the end wooden panel near their feet

hand written in marker pen is

the simplest, practical yet rending epitaph:

“Body Number 131”.

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