I popped out to the shops to buy some bread;

When I returned my family were dead.

A missile had destroyed our neighbourhood;

From this time onwards, nothing will be good.

I cannot understand these men of war;

I cannot comprehend what this is for.

We had no quarrel with our former friends;

How can these means advance their twisted ends?

Were they at war, my children and my wife?

They wanted no more than to live their life.

I search among the debris for a sign

Of those whose being intertwined with mine.

As I withdraw beneath the cindered sky,

The hammer in my mind repeats: Why? Why?


◄ The Slowing of Spring

Red Sky at Night ►


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Stephen Gospage

Thu 28th Apr 2022 17:52

Thanks, John, for your kind comment. As Clare said, it is just a shame that the material to create something like this is so readily available.

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John Botterill

Thu 28th Apr 2022 09:21

Phenomenal Stephen. Poignant and gripping. Says it all.

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Stephen Gospage

Wed 27th Apr 2022 20:56

Thanks to tryingthings

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Stephen Gospage

Wed 27th Apr 2022 17:32

Cheers, Stephen.

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Stephen Gospage

Wed 27th Apr 2022 17:31

Thank you all very much, Clare, Ursula, Greg, John and MC. I see now that the crux of the poem is the first two lines. I wanted to emphasise incomprehension here.

The more I see of this war, the more I am struck by its crass brutality and pointlessness. Like many modern wars, there is virtually no real battle, just a licence to destroy homes and lives. Apart from anything else, what is the point of invading a country which could end up completely destroyed and where everyone will hate you?

The fact that Putin thinks there is a point shows how mad he and his regime have become.

And thanks to Nigel, Julie, Rudyard, Holden and K Lynn for the likes.

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Stephen Atkinson

Wed 27th Apr 2022 17:19

Powerfully understated. The first two lines slap you into submission. Another superb piece of writing Stephen

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M.C. Newberry

Wed 27th Apr 2022 15:32

Vivid in its depiction of the bewilderment and grief that is surely
felt by many. Putin's motives are somewhere in the realm of the present and the past, not least the history between the two lands
as recently as WW2 when the Nazis (a term readily seized upon
by Putin for his reasons for this "special military operation") were
very much in evidence. We ignore that reality at the peril of
an incomplete understanding of the behaviour that is helping to
drive this wretched conflict. The pity of war indeed.

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John Coopey

Wed 27th Apr 2022 15:04

Powerful, Stephen. I agree with Greg and indeed would go further. The poem could even end after those first two lines.

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Greg Freeman

Wed 27th Apr 2022 09:43

Thank you, Stephen, for sticking with all this, and still telling it like it is. Those first two lines are devastating in their simplicity. The pity of war. Yet Wilfred Owen would not recognise this kind of conflict.

<Deleted User> (32907)

Wed 27th Apr 2022 00:17

Really well expressed, Stephen. Great empathy for the experience so many are facing right now. Very very sad time for so many. Well done.👍

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Tue 26th Apr 2022 22:24

Gut wrenching. This an amazing piece from you, Stephen. It's just so tragic that you had the material to write it. Such empathy and intelligence is displayed here. Thankyou.

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