Poem

Owen Byrne owen at permafrost.net
Sun Apr 20 00:45:09 PDT 2003


Some more contemporary poetry
The uncredited one (Regime Change) is identified on another page as by 
Andrew Motion
Owen

http://books.guardian.co.uk/writersoniraq/story/0,12975,932907,00.html
*Baghdad Lullaby*

A poem by Tony Harrison

Ssshhh! Ssshhhh! though now shrapnel makes you shriek
and deformities in future may brand you as a freak,
you'll see, one day, disablement 's a blessing and a boon
sent in baby-seeking bomblets by benefactor Hoon.
*
·* (In response to Hoon saying on Radio 4's Today programme last week 
that Iraqi mothers would thank him for using cluster bombs.)


*Iraquatrains*

A poem by Tony Harrison

*Tuesday April 1, 2003
The Guardian <http://www.guardian.co.uk>*

I
SHOCK & ORE

Go round to Downing St, get Tony Blair's hard disc
Here's certainly a man from whom children are at risk.
Blair's a 'risk to children' with his Iraqi war
I trust he's being fingered by Operation Ore.

II
PAYLOAD

The Iraqis now are truly shocked and awed
at the inexorable Bushkrieg Juggernaut
all the more crushing since it's got on board
the broad Brum bum and bosoms of Clare Short.

III
THE HEARTS AND MINDS OPERATION

'Decapitation' to win minds and hearts,
a bombing bruited surgical, humane, 's
only partially successful when its start 's
a small child's shrapnelled scalp scooped of its brains.

IV
THE BODY RE-COUNT

Dead Iraqis vote BUSH after all!
Florida's Bushibboleth 's become Baghdad's.
He's re-elected by them as they fall
with flayed off human flesh like hanging chads.

V
ROSE PARADE

Sorry they're shrivelled, your liberators' petals!
There's no water here to keep the flowers fresh
though your laser-guided shower of shattering metal 's
sown these damp red roses in our flesh.

VI
LEADING THE BLIND

Once executioners would kindly bind
the victims' eyes, so they died unaware.
Now Death's open-eyed as all the blind-
folds have been bagged by Bush and Blair.


*Regime change*

*Thursday April 3, 2003
The Guardian <http://www.guardian.co.uk>*

Advancing down the road from Niniveh
Death paused a while and said 'Now listen here.

You see the names of places roundabout?
They're mine now, and I've turned them inside out.

Take Eden, further south: at dawn today
I ordered up my troops to tear away

its walls and gates so everyone can see
that gorgeous fruit which dangles from its tree.

You want it, don't you? Go and eat it then,
and lick your lips, and pick the same again.

Take Tigris and Euphrates; once they ran
through childhood-coloured slats of sand and sun.

Not any more they don't; I've filled them up
with countless different kinds of human crap.

Take Babylon, the palace sprouting flowers
which sweetened empires in their peaceful hours -

I've found a different way to scent the air:
already it's a by-word for despair.

Which leaves Baghdad - the star-tipped minarets,
the marble courts and halls, the mirage-heat.

These places, and the ancient things you know,
you won't know soon. I'm working on it now.'




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