Dorothy Webb's 'The Silent March of 2001' is Poem of the Week
This week’s Write Out Loud Poem of the Week is ‘The Silent March of 2001’ by Dorothy Webb, a powerful piece remembering the often forgotten side of the foot and mouth outbreak of 2001. The poem relates the tale of ‘hardened men’ and the ordeal they faced when having to burn their livestock and their livelihood. It showcases a delicate side to the people we take for granted as uniformly strong and powerful.
Below, Dorothy tackles our Q&A and reveals a little more about herself and her poetry background.
What got you in to writing poetry?
I had an overwhelming need to express how I felt about nature and my deep anger at being owned and shaped by the Church - I still puzzle about how this morphed into poetry.
How long have you been writing?
I think it is about twenty years - but they seemed to write themselves and I have always felt a little embarrassed about them.
Since joining Write Out Loud and seeing the sheer variety of poems, and loving them, I have allowed mine to come out of hiding.
Do you go to any open-mic nights?
Your favourite poet/poem?
William Butler Yeats - 'THE LAKE ISLE OF INNISFREE'
I 'found' this poem when I was a child and loved its peace and beauty. My family did not like "that sort of thing" so I kept very quiet about it.
I still love it - I could live within it and be very happy.
You're cast away on a desert island. What's your luxury?
Well now, that is the easiest question to answer. Chocolate. What else could a girl want?
The Silent March of 2001
by Dorothy Webb
grim as granite
hide behind their faces
as fires are stoked
with carcase after twisted carcase.
Smoke, held low by mourning miist,
blots out the winter sun,
silently stealing through chilled valleys
and lonely farms.
Layers of pale ash, falling as snow,
shrouds fields and hedges
and empty lifeless barns.
And over all the smell
the stinking smell
of burning blood and flesh
on choking pyres.
Throughout all this,
and when this work is done,
strong men stand silent in their grief
for none must cry,
though some may hang their heads
and quietly die.