Spring.

 

Outside, the hawthorn is in bloom

while here the TV spits into my room

faster than bullets, the same old news

that some far-flung corner of a foreign field

is now sown with blood, with shrapnel, and with loss

that it’s worth the sacrifice

worth the cost

and outside, the hawthorn is in bloom.

 

Outside, the hawthorn is in bloom

the willow glows with catkin gold 

and the lions, led by media-savvy donkeys

are digging in for the long haul

for the big push. For you, for me, for freedom.

For whatever the story is this week. 

Some box-fresh spin

wrought out of Kevlar, rescued from dust

one that makes it worth the sacrifice

worth the cost

and outside, the hawthorn is in bloom

 

Outside, the hawthorn is in bloom

the willow glows with catkin gold 

the dog-rose has burst into life

and the embedded reporter, mole-blind,

assures us that morale is high

there was turkey for Xmas

there’ll be bunting for the Jubilee

everyone’s here to do a job.

He signs off from the satellite phone 

with a soundbite about sacrifice

a nod towards loss

and outside, the hawthorn is in bloom

 

Outside, the hawthorn is in bloom

the willow glows with catkin gold 

the dog-rose has burst into life

with the lengthening days the ash buds open

and the minister, caught between engagements,

pauses before the cameras

to say we will always remember them

forgets their names before he sinks into his limousine

but made sure to say 

something appropriate about sacrifice

duly solemn about loss

and outside, the hawthorn is in bloom.

 

Outside, the hawthorn is in bloom

the willow glows with catkin gold 

the dog-rose has burst into life

with the lengthening days the ash buds open

and we wait.

We wait for rains that don’t yet come

while families, their world forever blasted out of true,

wish for ruined ghosts to come marching through 

the door, all present and correct

large as life and home for tea

to haul them out of this wasteland of grief

where there are no words

where no words will do.

Sacrifice? doesn’t begin to cover it.

 

And the rains? 

They’ll come, or they won’t come.

Spring will blossom into summer

the ash spread its leaves toward the sun

and pain shrinks to a small constant

stone lodged tight by the heart

while we watch the willow green

and then the brave leaves tumble.

‘til spring comes round again

and, turning from the TV burble,

I look out of my window and see 

outside, the soft white flowers

of the hawthorn coming 

once more into bloom.

 

◄ 13th Floor

Rumbled. ►

Comments

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steve pottinger

Mon 17th Jun 2013 21:06

Thanks for taking the time to read this, Francine!

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Francine

Mon 17th Jun 2013 20:50

Yes, the contrast of images... always thought provoking!

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steve pottinger

Wed 18th Apr 2012 18:42

Thanks for the comments, folks. Andrew, I guess you and I are going to have to agree to disagree about poem length... but I'm glad you liked it! ;-)

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Yvonne Brunton

Wed 18th Apr 2012 14:34

Love the line 'The TV spits into my room'. A powerful indictment of current politics and lifestyles against a backdrop of the innocences and never-changing progress of nature. xx

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M.C. Newberry

Mon 16th Apr 2012 18:54

Worth the writing and well worth the reading.The contrast of the images of new life in spring with the man-made platitudes that surround death and its tragedy is powerful. It is as if Walt Whitman met Sir John
Betjeman!

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Laura Taylor

Mon 16th Apr 2012 10:53

Enjoyed this - plenty of good political and biting comment, combined with, as Andrew says, a spring poem.

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Andrew Brown

Mon 16th Apr 2012 10:26

Guess what I'm going to say, Steve? (provided you've read my 13th Floor comments first.) This is a great perversion of the average spring poem (you know, the one we all had to write in school)and you hit us with some wonderfully potent images right from the top and by the time you get to line thirteen you've said it. Stop. You're a serious talent, Steve, keep them coming.

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