The Shoah of us all

Concrete walls

Chucked up quick, cheap

My first home


My dad he’d shipped West  Africans

From the Gold Coast to Burma to fight

The Japs. Sunk, he was, three times, 

No one thought to teach him to swim.

Dispensible he was, like all the other working class lads

Determined to do their bit 

No bugger taught them anyfuckingthing.


We played all around where we lived

Belting down the double hill to see me aunty (well her Alsatian, Prince)

On a three-wheeler

Flying arse-over-tit into the flooded foundations

Of yet more homes-for-heroes. Men, who'd fought in the

Western desert or liberated Concentration camps dug the foundations.

They tried so fucking hard to get back to something like normal.

Wives, bored with their sweating bed-wetting, dreamed

Of the black GIs who'd lit up their imaginations with their fucking eyes.


These sadnesses  I did not see. 

Such desperate longings lingered all around me. 

Underneath the West way blasted the Pink Faeries

Changing the perspective, altering everything. Life on Mars

Wandered up Portobello; eating exotic fruit and veg amounted to

Revolutionary acts when everyone was still eating spam.

In the apple market in Kingston I listened to Bowie

Where there were  lemons on sale again, India Pale Ale,

In the little London boozers that still remained

From the Betjeman days.

With their church-glass windows and their sweet-sweet smell

Of  marijuana all around the beer gardens.

And all the time the distance widening between the rulers and the unruly..

Now the prevalence of age and fear

Wreck all this pointlessly pointed  serendipity

That made life worthwhile. 

Can you hear me Major Tom?


And this was how the war began,

And it will end in the holy city

Of Jerusalem,

Many will burn their eyes,

Before she  is done, or dies.


Perfectly unIslamic,

The countess

Eats, drinks sweet wine,

Listens to troubadours.

Such untimely resurrections,

She cannot abide,

She hides her eyes as she glances

At the grave

Empty air fills the space.


Ezedi women,

Clothed with the sun,

Sometimes called the Whores of Babylon,

Echo, the many voices of God,

Such and such aspects of the Apocalypse.

First appeared one sultry summer night on Kinvara Road, Co. Dublin

After the convent it was good to be back

The new estate. The new morning.

Finding clothes for Anna

Dressing her kindly

Gentle and wicked she wakes.

The wide empty pavement

The bus half-filled

This August afternoon with women.

Why aren’t the leaves falling?

In October colours these squares spurt earth.

Now only summer traffic greys my mind.

In Cavan for rings.

In Clones, a poet parades the diamond.

The one tree remains.

They’re filming at Redhills – another Border Story –

The unmarked road’s been blown.


Tawûsê Melek is the way of grief, of sorrow, of suffering so sharp

So deep began on 3rd August 2014: on Mount Sinjar, in Iraq,

Hyacinths in August grew mists, along the way

On the Via Dolorosa where the ghost flowers play

A symphony played that day,

Harpists in the heat-floating fields of people

Scattered, walked, retreated from the.

Bloodless, black, drained penumbras that threatened our fate..

Daesh immune to the Nivêja rojavabûnê ,

They did not listen to the Sunset Prayer,

They think we worship Shatan, the shoah of us all,

For we sacrifice with fire and we see the holocaust of the fall.

We began upon Mount Sinjar  

And the seven angels will see us home.

Listen to these beautiful children of Adam

These fallen sons and daughters of men.

Our sun appears in stormy weather

In death we are together.

So, when the complacent rich count their money

And bloated bodies are found in ditches.

When public men hide their private foibles

Lawyers advise against defending libels.

When friends desert you and you’re all alone

You can take it from me, your bird has flown.

Pikey has no fear

Dancing away from  everything

Dancing into the arms of the woman

Who loves me

Me gamau dut

The old Romany

Language of sex

Dying on the breeze

Drunk and bereft

Falling into the river

And never getting out.


If all the days of all the years were made of wine and gold

I’d roll them up into the light of intelligence in this one dog’s eyes

I’d pat him and I'd stroke him and tell him unashamedly how

His  friendship made God notice us,

.As in the Paiut Wovoka ghost dance,

In this age of the machine there is no worth in the unseen,.

Nor in the perspicacity and prescience

Of the most illiterate, boorish Saxon

That's ever been:

Listen to a  Fugue for Human Voices

Remember the striking Saris –

Diminutive Punjabi women

Battling their Thatcherite employer,

George Ward, for fair wages:

Wages that never came.

In our endless, numbered days

In this Disunited Kingdom....

The gentle do not survive.

All of the day and all of the night

Poor people are hungry,

Children go to sleep hungry,

They wake up hungry

Half-hoping, half-alive,.


The blue-eyed Ezedi woman

Will take nothing from

The knife she forces into her womb. 

For her, now, the sun has gone

Tause Melek is defamed, lost forever, gone. 

Carrying a Jihadi rapist's baby

There is no need to survive.

We are only half-alive.

Ezedi women sold in Raqqa

$ 500 for a virgin

  1. $ 300 if she’s still alive.
  2. Some are for free


In Manchester, my city of canals and dreams,

The cavalry raised their sabres

Into the screaming air. Then forced them down through

The muscle, flesh, bone of women, children, men.

I heard them scream.  Again. Again. Again.


.Now the morning rain soaks my clothes, my hair, my skin,

I do not care.

I look at the mortar in the crumbling

Wall built by the calloused hands of men who’d survived

The Somme. "Scabs", they were called

As they’d hung their heads

But they’d had mouths to feed.

They’d taken any work they could.

Carved their initials, date 1929, on the granite bridge

That took them over to Quaker fields where kicking a soggy football

Helped them forget their empty bellies, if only for a while.

Now kids smoke skunk here, the sweet smell

Hanging heavy as the air,  

Their great grandfathers had used laudanum:

There is always resistance, everywhere.

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◄ Brother

a splash of yellow across a sometime sky... ►


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Martin Elder

Mon 24th Jun 2019 17:16

wow this is a real belter of a poem taken at full tilt. It says so much it takes time to digest. Powerful stuff John
nice one

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