Read Poem: BACK HOME, Michael Lawrence

(Poem for Don McCullin)

Back from the wars, a veteran
of ten thousand images of massacre,
rape, disease, despair, every horror
known to and devised by man dutifully
recorded in every dung-heap, shit-hole,
rat-infested pocket of the world:
the fly-pestered faces of wide-eyed orphans,
naked screaming babes,
gaunt cadavers in shallow graves
uncovered by the rains, soldiers
pirouetting over trenches for posterity,
women in rags, the old, the middle-aged,
the young – some, in these perfect compositions,
as beautiful as fashion models for other cameras,
back home.

Back home,
an old stone house, darkroom down the path,
a different kind of perfect composition:
moody studies of tumbling English skies,
the rain and sun on English oaks, sane,
controlled, serene – yet haunted, scarred,
smeared by all those gritty, grainy years,
the stench of burning flesh,
the empty eyes that never knew tomorrow,
the tortured, the savaged, the sundered;
that other world,
shoved aside but never quite forgotten,
of innocents ground down into this bloody earth,
blood-saturated earth, that we call civilised.

The photographer has come home.
But he rarely smiles.

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About poetryfest

Submit your Poetry to the Festival. Three Options: 1) To post. 2) To have performed by an actor 3) To be made into a film.
This entry was posted in 2018 Poetry, new poetry, poet, poetry, Poetry Festival, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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