Dorothy Webb's 'The Silent March of 2001' is Poem of the Week

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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?

No, never.


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


Hardened men,

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.

◄ 'Her lower lashes curl in toward a view that's hers alone'

In it to win it: a guide to success in poetry competitions ►


<Deleted User> (21487)

Sun 24th Mar 2019 11:07

Thank you Jonathan for your very kind and encouraging comments, they are very much appreciated.

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Jonathan Humble

Sun 10th Mar 2019 08:26

I enjoyed reading your work Dorothy. I lived near farms badly hit during the outbreak. Such awful times for farming families.
Never feel embarrassed about writing; your poetry is wonderful.

JH : )

<Deleted User> (21487)

Fri 8th Mar 2019 11:35

Thank you - again thank you does not seem quite enough - perhaps I should use a larger font and shout it.


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Martin Elder

Thu 7th Mar 2019 22:39

I am frankly not surprised that you have achieved POTW. This is excellent and I am highly delighted for you.
Many congratulations Dorothy

<Deleted User> (21487)

Thu 7th Mar 2019 10:28

I have read your comment - pinched myself - and re read it - and I am ----- welll I don't know what I am - very grateful will be a good start but it is not enough.
This blog has been very good to me and for me, the people that I have 'met' are quite unlike anyone that I have ever 'met' before.

Each poet has introduced me to a world that is very different from mine,
I have read poems that have blown me away and some that I have giggled over but all have made me think along different lines.

Thank you David and thank you WoL.

<Deleted User> (21487)

Tue 5th Mar 2019 20:08

Thank you Jon and Trevor for reading and commenting on my poem.
I really appreciate it.


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trevor homer

Tue 5th Mar 2019 15:16

I find the harsh reality of this poem very striking - the smell, the taste, the desolation, is captured very well - congratulations on POTW - Trevor

<Deleted User> (21487)

Tue 5th Mar 2019 08:42

Thank you Rich - for your kind words, and for writting 'STONE'

Don you are so right, I think my emotions morphed into poetry without my permission for that reason.
Trying to suppress them or showing them to the wrong people was like sitting on a volcano in an effort to stiop the erruption.

The erruption, when it came, was almost catastrophic and was aimed at the wrong person,

I am so glad he was blessed with the power of perception.

Anya thank you so much.

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Jon Stainsby

Tue 5th Mar 2019 07:42

Congratulations, Dorothy

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Don Matthews

Tue 5th Mar 2019 07:14

Poetry is a powerful urge to bring what's inside out. You can't stop it. You're in the right environment to do this

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Mon 4th Mar 2019 21:21

Well done on Poem of the Week, congratulations.

Great poem, Dorothy, you've put into words the emotion and feel of the time.

<Deleted User> (21487)

Mon 4th Mar 2019 21:06

Thank you all so much for your comments - such kind voices - and so much support.

To see my poems accepted in such company is more than I could ever dare hope for, and as for 'SILENT MARCH' being Poem of the Week, well what can I say?

My first reaction was shock and then disbelief followed by shaky fingers
I felt so sorry for Stu having to sort out what I wrote and what I meant to write it could not have been easy, so thank you for that Stu.

My thanks agan to every one.

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Mon 4th Mar 2019 16:26

Great poem , reading it again it comes to life without fail. I remember seeing the news and the fires and you have caught the whole disastrous episode perfectly. The whole idea of hiding feelings and the contrast of that with the public display is a a tour de force. Thoroughly deserving winner this week Dorothy!


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keith jeffries

Mon 4th Mar 2019 11:31


Congratulations and well done.



Mon 4th Mar 2019 07:11

I enjoyed the interview very much, Dorothy. Your replies provoke much thought as to our religious and educational heritage--how many more have been similarly discouraged from the pursuit of happiness through active engagement of innate talents?

It's quite a strong piece of writing, as are quite a few of your other offerings.

Good to have you here,


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Peter Taylor

Mon 4th Mar 2019 06:56

The last stanza sent a shiver down my back, which is generally reserved for really special, powerful words. An excellent poem indeed, for which many thanks.
Peter T

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Jason Bayliss

Mon 4th Mar 2019 06:40

Well done Dorothy and thoroughly deserved. I love your style and your talent. Worthy winner. Hero status now definitely confirmed ?.

J. x

<Deleted User> (19913)

Mon 4th Mar 2019 03:32

Very well deserved Dorothy, I'm thrilled for you. This is a powerful poem, painting a picture of human and animal suffering that is cleverly executed, and infused with a restraint that is characteristic of those who tend the land. It would touch many I'm sure. Congratulations again. Cheers, Kate

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