Sentenced to Peace (notes on Don McCullin)

Passing through six rooms of a life

in the aperture of his minds eye.

From Finsbury Park to Palmyra,

in this final space he speaks to me.


Grotesque gargoyles broken against rocks,

an empty child on the withered breast.

Poverty in Black and White,

a gloating victor defiles a corpse.


In this end room landscapes open out,

trees reach to darkened skies where the sun shines through,

here he finds his peace,

here is where he seals the doors.


Here is where he steps beyond the lens

from the dark room into light,

where earth no longer surrenders to men

here’s where he can live again.

◄ Gods bless us all

The Waves that Break ►


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Wolfgar Miere

Mon 25th Mar 2019 12:33

Thanks Martin,

Very much appreciated.


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Martin Elder

Sun 24th Mar 2019 14:53

I have to confess my ignorance of not having heard of this guy. But reading the comments helps make more sense. then further googling I understand more He sounds quite remarkable. However more importantly this is piece is a fabulous piece of poetry.
Nice one David

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Wolfgar Miere

Sun 24th Mar 2019 04:53

Thanks for stopping by Mark.

McCullin is still an impressive man, at 83 he went back to Palmyra, Balbeek and Damascus quite a thing to do at any age these days.

Stories should be conveyed and sometimes words just don't cut through to the reality, I think McCullin figured this out early on. I am also inspired by journalists who go off the grid and venture where others fear to go. Most recently Marie Colvin would be at the FEBA, so much so that she sacrificed herself for the story to be told, did it change anything? Maybe saved a few lives...that has to be worth something.


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M.C. Newberry

Sat 23rd Mar 2019 11:22

The likes of McCullin - who put themselves into the front line of man's inhumanity to man - are the chroniclers of their time, as
much as those of previous centuries, but with the added
advantage of the power of the visual image to carry the message.
It was Life magazine's famous byline that "A picture is worth a thousand words". In conflict that is certainly the case and there
must come a time when too much is enough for anyone....and
peace of mind a prize worth obtaining.

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Wolfgar Miere

Fri 22nd Mar 2019 19:20

Thanks Tommy, Frances and Ray,

all very much appreciated.

Tommy, I know how strange that feeling can be when we feel we have missed something, especially if somehow we conclude wrongly that someone has passed away. That said it is usually a great feeling to find we were wrong, so my apologies for putting you through that.

Frances it's nice to see you popping by, thanks.

Ray, you know I want to revisit the exhibition so maybe we can get a date sorted soon. Funny one this because it produced some very deep feelings in me which I don't think I have captured so well. Maybe because the deepest of feelings are the ones most difficult to verbalise or write down. There were so many things I could have referenced but as is often the case with my scribbles I feel less is more. I don't share the same commitment to my comments however (unfortunately for some)

I'm not feeling much like commenting on the work of others at the moment so will probably be utilising the like button more frequently, I won't be using it without serious consideration.

Thanks to all those who sent likes they too are much appreciated.

All the best,


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Fri 22nd Mar 2019 18:56

It's often the case that a poem can more exactly and effectively express an experience deeply felt than a conversation, and I think this is a good example. There is so much empathy and understanding inherent in it, and the theme itself is supercharged with potential .

A master stroke of a poem David, and a subject that as you know is close to my own heart!


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Frances Macaulay Forde

Fri 22nd Mar 2019 02:27

Very clever.

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Tommy Carroll

Fri 22nd Mar 2019 01:23

* Unreasonable Behaviour

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Tommy Carroll

Thu 21st Mar 2019 22:41

Wolf I was intrigued by your inferrence that McCullen was somehow at pease. I quickly checked the internet looking for the news that he had died, phew.

I had forgotten (brain bleed 10 years ago) but still I could not get the theme of your verses. Then I recalled McCullen's move away from conflict to more peaceful persuits with his camera.

I had become an admirer of McCullen's work in the early 70's and so I sought out more info on his later work.

"I didn't kill that man on that photograph, I didn't starve that child." That's why I want to photograph landscapes and flowers. I am sentencing myself to peace."

You had your Lens well focused and have me now obsessed in finding his eponymous titled Book (upstairs I think.)

This condition I have took me several reads then it dawned upon me "Yes!" it came into focus (I know I know) a relief and a pleasure to re-read your poem at ease.

It took me 30 minutes to get your points and (as I say) everthing was relevent. Your poem then became the superb finale of the search.

Thank you Wolf, thank you.

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