Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Coming to meet you

This is an "old favourite"... no really.
This poem was translated into arabic and presented to Saddam Husein as a gift by his brother in law after the first gulf war.
Not that I take any responsibility for how other people have interpretted it, or used it, nor what they have made it mean, but I just mean to indicate that it is reasonably "well known"... eg. it is reproduced on the Our Planet web site ... which I have nothing to do with (even though they put my email address at the bottom of their page, and a link to my software services web site!), and I have seen it in some other places as well.

Incidentally, you can buy this poem on a t-shirt! And because it is a bit like a prayer, they make very good nighties.


We are throwing down our weapons
We are leaving our barricades
We are coming to meet you

There are sixty-five thousand of us

If you receive us with friendship this will be
...something new
If you do not we shall die

And they rise out of the ground, across the barbed wire,
Through the mist, and the shells fall
And they walk on

And with each rifle shot
My father died, and my mother died,
And my sister died, and my brother died,
Falling at the other men's feet
Helped to the ground by other men's hands

And still they come, stumbling on through the mist
Pace after pace
Wave after wave of men going to their deaths

And then...
ONE man
One man in an army
One man in the world
Threw down his rifle and cried
And then another
And another
And another

And no one knew it could happen
And no one can be sure it would happen again
But everyone who was there when those soldiers met
Everyone who felt that embrace
Everyone who knew that joy
KNEW that love can be made in the world each day

I am throwing down my weapons
I am leaving my barricades
I am coming to meet you...

Saturday, 4 August 2007

when I was young

when I was young
i used to tell people i was a poet

because i wanted to be "a something"
and although "poet" was a difficult thing to prove
it was also a difficult thing to disprove.

closer to the truth you might say
i pretended to be a poet...
I was the "young pretender"

Occassionally saying i was a poet got me into fights,
Occassionally it got me into bed with a beautiful girl,

Mostly it didn't get me anywhere.

Years later,
I discover there is a fallout benefit of having spent my youth
pretending to be a poet,
a fallout benefit that I never dreamed or hoped or prayed for,
never even wanted
or thought to want.

A fallout benefit much more useful than success or glory.
(What could possibly be more useful than that?)

I am not going to tell you what it is.
(Because I am older and wiser than I was
when I pretended to know what I was doing with my life
and pretended to know what I'm talking about.)

But just a mention to the young folks,
that pretending to a be a poet,
may just turn out to be a smarter move
than you might think.