Thursday, October 23, 2014

100 wars

this ancestral war   this apocalypse war   this bankrupt war
 this bastard war        this bickering war        this black war
this blackmail war          this blood war          this boy war
 this brimstone war      this burning war    this censored war
this class war           this cliché war           this clinical war
  this cold war            this crass war            this cynical war
 this damn war            this death war            this desert war
this drug war             this epic war             this family war
  this festering war     this feudal war     this flag-wavy war
this flesh war      this flickering war      this forgotten war
 this fractious war    this failed war    this friendly-fire war
this fucked up war      this gaming war      this ghost war
  this global war            this god war             this grave war
 this hate war            this hero war            this hidden war
this hollow war         this holy war         this hopeless war
 this hunger war      this industrial war      this jealous war
  this just war        this karaoke war        this knee-jerk war
 this knife war               this last war               this lost war
this love war           this maniac war           this mass war
 this mock war        this neighbour war         this new war
   this noble war             this old war             this panic war
 this party war          this patriotic war          this pride war
this pretty-mess war     this puerile war     this putrid war
 this quota war            this random war            this rap war
this rape war            this ratings war            this ritual war
this royal war            this sacred war            this secret war
   this sex war             this silent war             this social war
this strategic war          this tactic war          this terror war
 this time war             this tired war             this tit-tat war
   this toothless war         this torture war         this toy war
this tribe war     this universal war     this vengeance war
 this war on war          this widow war          this word war
  this x-rated war       this death war       this youth war
this zeitgeist war        this dark war          this death war
 this death war    this war war war war war war war war …

My anti-war poem - 100 wars - which was performed brilliantly
by Craig Hamilton at a War Poetry event at Jersey Arts Centre
last week.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Under garden and field, through humus and loam, moles tunnel
earth miners nose-diving through truffle brown
snaffling and snouting the ground in swims through soil
carving subterranean highways with shovel feet.

Nosing up towards brilliantine stars they are too blind to see
their neat little heaps punctuate green with soft sifted earth
flagrantly ignoring our boundaries, true ramblers knowing
that under turf all earth is free, moles criss-cross our land
nudging up little piles of disregard.

To be a mole-catcher was once deemed a profession
most worthy, hunting these Jersey ploughmen
with their digger feet and squiffy eyes and velveteen sheen
and even a cream-white breed in some parishes. *

Perhaps the mole-catcher would once have worn a waistcoat
made of their neat little skins, as he followed moles crossways
via their uncharted paths, knowing leaving a few to survive
would protect his trade, becoming wise in their ways.

And perhaps it is true that on moonlit nights
after a pint or two, my father went out to dig a few mounds
to augment their few, and when postcards came
warning the moles had returned, perhaps he regretted
the traps and the poison-blue worms he slipped
into their caves

for he knew that one day he too would be
in l’rouoyaume des taupes, the kingdom of moles **
berthed deep in the berried leafy clod
pressed tight with fusty soil muffling his ears
not hearing their digger feet scratching the ground
nuzzling close, tunnelling free.

a cream-white form occurred sparingly in several parts of Jersey chiefly in St Lawrence and St Martin...  Frances Le Sueur, A Natural History of Jersey, 1976.

** dans l’rouoyaume des taupes (in the kingdom of moles) is a Jèrriais euphemism for being dead.

This poem was a runner up in the Mslexia Women's Poetry Competition 2013.