Reportage

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I kissed your hand you held it out to me in a song
you were taking photographs of children dying
I was shooting madmen in a jungle

I came home took drugs and fucked whores
you went home and fucked life and decried wars

I stripped skin from my worthless corpse
you put flesh on lost causes and pissed on cornflakes

I hated you and loved you too
you hated me and never imagined love

and now we fight all our battles together
my bullets wake your world you world spits bullets back

We are a fucking battle of love
and I surrender

Every place we ever were before we met
is littered with bodies and shit we can’t forget

© Wolfgar 2019

Survival?

Survival

The skyline spattered by air bursting shells, 
canvas of grey, the birds have flown free.
The Belfry relieved of its heavenly Bells
and the crucifix splintered to saviourless tree.   
 
Rats eat bootlaces through to the bone
then we eat the rats and so eat our own.
God has deserted what we now defend
but the Devil is stoic, the Devil’s a friend.
 
He rides on the shells that fracture the ear
then steers them away tormenting our fear.
though many forget the reasons we came,
we hate those who sent us more than the slain.
 
We’ve children back home in some other place,
but their voices have faded as too has the face.
We don’t look in mirrors for fear of our eyes,
but see in each other our self serving lies,
 
that bear us the wounded away from this hell
with silent dead whispers we never can tell,
of how we survived to be better off dead
then to live it again each day in our head.

© Wolfgar 2019
 

in extremis

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I thought I caught a glimpse of me coming back
the other way, a phantom of me somewhere from the future
in a tunnel white with dust, heavy in a veil of blood.

Going this way there is no past. I focus on the boots in front
heels kicking up the sand stone and goat shit,
almost laughing I choke, the voices in the distance sound killable.

Up ahead the sky is flashing white through yellow
the crump comes seconds later, 
somewhere a barrel is smoking and a life is gone.

Never more alive than close to death,
let me touch it let me feel the void,
I’m ready to take the sweeping scythe.

How many times did we leap its dripping blade?
or turn a corner one block early to live another day,
then hear the stories of the dead who turned the other way.

And did we care? we did not, we revelled in our life,
we shrugged off death.
I saw in your eyes our luck running out,

as I saw them power down when yours ran out,
in the moment I saw you fade, 
I shouted “fuck” then you were dead.

The last sound you heard was me shout “fuck”
I wish I’d shouted something else,
but I shouted that, and you were dead.

I saw myself reflected in a fuselage on the way home,
strapped to a board like an outcast angel 
I shouted “FUCK” at the medic, he shouted “Fuck off” back, we laughed.

At the reception centre I saw my wife’s face in the crowd,
it didn’t feel like home yet,
I felt myself break, right there, right then.

I hope Valhalla is hell for you,
for the quiet of this peace is killing me.

© Wolfgar 2018

Štimlje revisited (unseen casualties) 

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Traveling across open flatland toward Štimlje the ground begins to rise.
Driving on through the tight enclosed lanes of the town to the far side as if to leave,
a battered overgrown compound looms into view, its heavy mesh fences collapsing and dilapidated in parts.

This is Štimlje Mental Asylum. The patients are unable or unwilling to leave, they have been abandoned left to fend for themselves or die.
The staff have fled because this is a war zone.

Snow lays in muddy patches around about, stained with shit and blood.
A slug-like legless form drags itself through excrement seemingly going nowhere fast,
its insane leer and wolf-like howling splits the cold air, this thing is human.

Horror descends.

We continue systematically on foot, through unlit grey buildings and rooms, behind each door a shocking portal to another circle of hell.
Women, children, half animals, intermittent screeching barking and yelps.
Self harming, open wounds, and the gut wrenching stench of filth.

In one room no bigger than a single garage space, at least fifty naked forms stand silently shivering.
They stare out of hollow skulls straight through me as I stand silhouetted in the doorway.
They seem to be mostly men its hard to tell, their emaciated bodies look sexless.
Upon closer inspection there are a few women present, Jesus! What might have happened to them in here? Their hair is matted in clumps.

There were just four of us a small recce team we could do nothing we had nothing, we were staring into hell and were struck dumb by it.
We drove in Silence back to Pristina not one single fucking word.

I was strong, fit, able in mind and body. I was in my late thirties and this wasn’t my first war.

I got back to a quiet place and hid myself, I cried and shook like a pathetic child, big tough fucking soldier eh?

And sometimes that is how war fucks you, slowly. Either that or you get blown to shit.

Who would write poetry about that?

© Wolfgar 2018

Šljivovica

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Please visit the link below to view War and Remembrance collection
https://wolfgarwords.com/category/war-and-remembrance/

I stood inside the shallow valley within a bowl of snow-blind echoes,
freezing in a balkan-scape I pissed iced whiteness yellow.

A hundred paces up the rise,
a conversation, who lives, who dies?
decisions breathed in foggy breath
mock handshakes sealed untimely death.

© Wolfgar 2018

The Unfound Generation

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Words strung across pages of No Mans Land
like spilt intestines dragged through bloody time,
 
obscenely lit by flares of remembrance,
strobe like nightmares illuminating faces never seen.
 
Those wretches, unconcerned with poetry and prose
spat out their hauntings not caring they ever be read.
 
Such horror was their reality, now our fiction,
so full of hell they detached from it, regressing in utero.
 
How many last words “Mother” how many last skies black?
how thick with mud the bloodied track, how void then of scarlet petals?
 
From misery came misery, from the art of war came art,
from roaring cannon came silent peace, and from hate came love.
 
But still from war comes war, as always will.
 
The Greatest Generation of Men remains Unfound.

© Wolfgar 2018

Timber Sycamore

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Oh tree Oh tree
how can you be where water doesn’t flow?

how spread the spores of conflict
from seed not nature sown?

Yet here you stand so wieldy
rootless in the sand

a pollinated theory
blown far across the land

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timber_Sycamore
(Initially I wasn’t going to add the link, but often subtlety will get you nowhere)

© Wolfgar 2018

Last light

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Along the hedge row Surrey lane
a last light shimmers by moonlights wane,
as bar staff stack the chairs again
he walks the road by which he came.

Can’t hear the sea this far inland
or recall the feel of hand in hand,
though in his ears still sounds the band 
his mouth turned dry with blackened sand.

He shuns the lies of suited men
hunched by stones in London rain, 
who meekly say with fingers crossed
We really do regret your loss.

The lonely house stands guard alone
for this old soul returning Home,
to sit it out just one more night
and pray for dawns relieving light.

© Wolfgar 2018

Forget the Parade

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Oh you can tell
from that bewildered face
he isn’t happy in this place

Here come flags
and banging drums
the marching men
the single mums

He hates these men
his dads old muckers
drunken medal wearing
fuckers

When poppies fall in civic halls
his only thought
to burn them all
for all he wants is what he had
the fallen poppy
he called dad

Child of no Hope

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At nine fifteen on the twenty first
all lessons ended for the One hundred and forty four
the toil of a nation slipped
and never again was it like before
 
Never the laughter
never the joy
never the going home bell
only the prospect of childless future
and drinking oneself into hell
 
Out of the window see the infant ghosts walk
little satchels and skipping ropes
innocent childlike talk
ascending through thickened colliery dust
please?
if there be god to him we entrust
 
Yet still the monument stands unheeded
we still pull the life from the ground
and for the loss of One hundred and forty four
it seems not much has been found
 
Whilst Children of Eden whether Sunni or Shia
cower in stair wells and die from their fear
whilst our empire of greed reigns down on their land
we bury their dreams under overturned sand
 
Whilst the oil we pull fuels our progress 
in concert with their demise
our toil is slipping upon them

and blackening out their skies
and blackening out their skies

© Wolfgar 2018

Too late the truth

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With gargoyled faces they stare dead eyed
into the past of their happy lives.
Not yet removed from the field
their souls still warm as breath.

These stupefied few ripped and flung like dolls,
look at their carcasses, what do you see?
lies and hope and pride, innocence?
regret or loss, no there is nothing.

And over there the same,
staring back visionless masks of puppets.
Above acres of mudded blood angels weep,
while demons give thanks to eternal men.

These ragged children, bastard sons fathers,
with never the chance to nurture or love.
Now they know the truth,
their voices disembodied for evermore.

© Wolfgar 2018

Mentioned in dispatches

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Do you think they felt the weight of history
pissing down in the drizzling sea spray
or when pulling on their mudded boots
that trod and fought through blood and clay

The fingers that caressed old photographs
were the same that clawed and scraped the skies
their last wept tears streaked ashen cheeks
as they left their deadened eyes

Were their grotesque withered bodies treated
solemnly and kind
or tossed as cannon fodder
in the trenches dug behind

Do you think their brothers cried for them
or resigned themselves to meet
and secretly reached out to them
to embrace their own defeat

And how can we in all truth now
profess to know their pain
and promise we’ll remember them
when the drums beat hasn’t changed

© Wolfgar 2018

Take these eyes

Pablo
Take these eyes that I may not see
the harm that went before,

and take this tongue which silently
withholds the words of war,

yet screams within a fractured mind
where only I can hear,

the terrors that were left behind
so far away but ever near.

Take my hands and wash them clean
of flesh tainted by blood,

that in the night they might un-claw
and grip some peace instead of war,

and please take my heart and fill it full
with all the things I lost,

that somehow might replace in me
all I spent to pay this cost.

© Wolfgar 2018 

Drummer Lee-Rigby

Mountain Gorillas of Agashya Group

An updated interpretation of Drummer Hodge by Thomas Hardy

They throw in Drummer Lee-Rigby,
to bleed.
un-defended, just as culled.

His landmark a rain washed gutter,
which flushes the detritus of human life into a divisive Thames.
The cities true testament to multiculturalism.

Young Lee-Rigby never knew fresh from his red rose home,
that the pride of his life would out live that day, and be left to his boyhood alone.

And why up-rose to nightly unrest,
white boys with hate unleashed in their breast.

Yet portion of that well-trod street
will Lee-Rigby forever be,
from blooded tarmac to fiery melee.
From hate filled night,
to grief filled day.

The death of a forgotten land,
and a scarlet line drawn in their sand.

© Wolfgar 2018

Brisance

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From brisance condensed in hatred
ignition came,
like the dormant dust of ages,
from careless words and truth-less history,
it came.
 
Some unknown, immolated, evaporated, disappeared.
Others reconstituted, pulling limbs and minds together.
Whilst the lost fragmented to darker corners,
into the splintered flash of a moment, screaming for eternity.
Thunder roars silent in their dead ears. 

The grey carpet laid randomly where it fell,
its fabric now woven into mine.
I wait for the second wave
to wash me clear,
away from the expanding storm,
to an untouched atoll.

© Wolfgar 2018

On the Beach

boy on beach

A disused children’s playground
the Carousel and Ferris Wheel,
where the seesaw’ed
when the peace thawed

Over there a shell hole
fifty meters from the breakfast buffet
The Al Deira Hotel fly’s freedom flags
but no castles in this sand today

The crippled body bent and cast
like a post-card from the edge
the broken promise clear at last
just another worthless pledge

© Wolfgar 2/2018

Fences

Ramallah fences

He found a stone in-between the fences
matted with blood and hair,
across the wire blackened canisters and rubber
which came from here but landed there.

There’s a fat old sloth slumped by the checkpoint
his weapon slung like a child’s toy,
he drags laboriously on filterless tips
and has no concern for a wounded boy.

From the tower, cameras scan the terrain
everything on CCTV,
while the man with the stone in no-mans land
ponders, which side of the fence should he be?

Ramallah 4 Feb 18

© Wolfgar 2/2018

What beauty comes of war

desolate

What beauty comes of war
from all that’s black as blood
from damaged mind and broken bone

What beauty comes of war

What beauty comes of ugliness
from torment trapped in blinding light
from silver landscapes blasted white

What beauty comes of war

Yet how remembrance uses it
the flags and slow lament
with dignity and gratitude and scarlet sentiment

Is beauty in the orphan child
a mind insane
a lonesome soul

Is beauty in a life bereft
to live without a love
to sleep alone and cold

If yes a terrible beauty comes of war

But grim remembrance bares the truth
of beauty never seen
whilst only those with scars are proof
to those who’ve never been