Again: A New Poem. Open Post

This poem was prompted by the latest news from Gaza and Ukraine. I tried to do a short introduction to the poem but I find I have no words, except the words it contains.

On the beach at the battle of Clontarf,
a thousand years ago today,
warriors fell like autumn leaves
from an invisible tree,
their blood rusting the earth.

The sea was further from the land then
before the great reclamation
and Clontarf is quiet today
but elsewhere soldiery
is still being sent
to fall and be felled,
bomb-dropping into homes
and hospitals now, and mothers
are shrieking again.

Again. I don't think
they've ever stopped since
or before. Was there ever
a moment when the world
was empty of that sound?

And now all day the embers 
of shockwaves words are tossed 
into our technologised taverns, 
our ornamented cafés,
our overstocked homes, 
and phones. What leaves 
of rebellion against this darkness
that's always returning
can we leave behind? 

I know how it feels. What use, 
what use? When we can’t wrap 
our hopeless arms around 
a single bloodied man, 
raise a single obliterated child 
from the rubble, offer a single 
sayable sentence to its mother, 
shrieking her unasked-for sacrifice?

We can’t save the world.
We can’t even save our own children.
War is willing to trade everything
for nothing but its own blooding. 

And so we are left with ourselves, 
walking around inside our shame, 
our fears echoing through parliamentary
and personal chambers, 
managing somehow

to walk out from our homes, 
to our cafés, our taverns and shops, 

though the news always has a new 
reason to be careful, casting off 
our cares enough to create 
to be carried by our urge 
to unfold a moment 
of love, of laughter, of verity,

like an ocean wave 
on an Irish sea, hurrying towards 
the beach at Clontarf, knowing 
we'll break in our landing, 
and whatever we make
from what we are given
will be drawn back into the sea.

Support my poetry:

Orna Ross


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