RESISTANCE. BY SIMON ARMITAGE
It’s war again: a family
carries its family out of a pranged house
under a burning thatch.
The next scene smacks
of archive newsreel: platforms and trains
(never again, never again),
over heads and shoulders, lifetimes stowed
in luggage racks.
It’s war again: unmistakable smoke
on the near horizon mistaken
for thick fog. Fingers crossed.
An old blue tractor
tows an armoured tank
into no-man’s land.
It’s the ceasefire hour: godspeed the columns
of winter coats and fur-lined hoods,
the high-wire walk
over buckled bridges
managing cases and bags,
balancing west and east - godspeed.
It’s war again: the woman in black
gives sunflower seeds to the soldier, insists
his marrow will nourish
the national flower. In dreams
let bullets be birds, let cluster bombs
burst into flocks.
False news is news
with the pity
edited out. It’s war again:
an air-raid siren can’t fully mute
the cathedral bells -
let’s call that hope.
Simon Armitage's Poem is hearfelt and so moving. The prospect of a war at the near end of the first quarter of the 21st Century is almost unbelievable. My own view is that it matters little to bullies that you stand looking on their crimes wringing your hands and decrying the outrage of it. Bullies, psychopaths and murderers only understand a response as forceful as theirs or greater. Then they often seem to disappear as if they only existed as a result of our fear of them, which may, in fact be the case.
The open-hearted response of the British to the assistance of Ukrainian refugees is to be honoured. However I am puzzled about the country's warm response to the Ukrainians compared to the hostile environment and unwelcome meted out to Syrians, Latino's and Africans. Could it possibly be that the Ukrainians are white "like us" and not brown, black and yellow people and therefore "not us but other?"
That would of course mean that the broken bodies of Africans and middle eastern peoples are worth less, that their lives have less meaning. How could it be possible that such poisonous racism could have taken root in the hearts of the Brits?
Of course our black, brown and yellow brothers and sisters have known that for some time.
May your God go with you and may all our Gods preserve and support the brave Ukrainians in their hour of War. Love and Will. In balance.