Manchester Triptych



Floret of flame, echo of the big bang,

Flinging innocent creation apart,

Flaying thin skin from an orderly world,

Punching and pummelling breaking bodies,

Undoing flesh with nuts and bolts and screws,

Undoing families in a moment,

Undoing this cause through its own effect,

Discounting the life which this is the sum,

Discounting lives summarily totalled,

Immaculate lives blown out in a flash.


Who the bomber? One dressed in his best vest,

High on the opiates of his people?

Or higher, two miles high, super sonic

And scratching the sky so close to the void?

Or miles out to sea, maybe, on a cruise?

Or cruising through cyber space and zapping

Pixilated people deaf to the drone?

And who the victims? Outlines coloured in

With bold strokes broad enough to blur edges,

Such simplified figures, which children count?

$ + £…

Words are not cheap, they do cost lives, spoken

With redacted care to prick sentiments

With forked tongues, justifying calls to arms

For the hundred years and more war, all one

Global war over branding, re-branding,

Bottom lines, arrayed on banners, dressed up

In various uniforms, or civvies,

Obscured by common words, such as Great War,

Second World, Cold and Hot, Insurgency.

And then, on the home front, comes a flash point.

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