Cables tie us Hold us tight To one spot Even invisible ones Chains Keeping us busy Keeping us attentive Keeping us productive and consuming So when they are cut We are lost Unable to produce As we once did
I am the factory wall, despised and so defaced Covered with graffiti, defiled and disgraced. I am the concrete tower that holds up the concrete road Bleak and faceless white, bearing my toxic load. I am the bin on the street, bursting full with waste Where rats and vermin crawl, around me in distaste. I am the battered traffic cone abandoned in the hedge A used forgotten prize of lives lived on the edge. I am the street side gutter where dirty water flows A place of infestation, where all the darkness goes. I am the discarded knife with bloodstains on the blade The close but unseen menace lurking in the shade. I am the lofty tower spewing clouds into the air That speed across the oceans, killing without a care. I am the broken shelf with screws rent from the wall That supported all the books and caused them all to fall. I am the sodden cardboard box flapping in the street Broken, limp, forgotten, always under feet.
Once I was a poet, bright-browed with golden-haired Playing harp and singing, songs into the air. Once I was a druid learning from the trees Drawing strength from bark and wisdom from the leaves. Once I was a warrior with proud and shining sword Singing with my war-band a deep heroic chord. Once I was a chieftain with princes round my hearth Against war and cold and famine, our mighty hearts did laugh. Once I was a king whose soul was all the land Who tended all his people with a strong and generous hand.
But I made other people suffer Now suffer myself in turn. But as you wreak your vengeance What lesson do you learn?
Our voices are simply the shadows Cast by our dreams and our thought If the shadows become ineffectual Then our voices will end up as naught Yet shadows can give us the outline Of what is looming above If we take note of the darkness We can give those dreams a shove One thing we must yet remember To give those shadows a shape Sunlight is needed behind it From brightness, the dreams will escape
Do not lightly discard them with tales of the foolish bold. They sat for weeks, for months, for years in trenches freezing cold. Sometimes feet simply mouldered in the sucking mud. And now and then they’d rise and run and spill their loyal blood.
Do not belittle the suffering of soldiers now long dead. With nothing but talk and songs and bombs bursting in their head. Bound together with chains of love shattered by leaden death. They ended as they had begun with cries upon their breath.
Do not lightly remember them with only paper flowers. they faced the fear, the pain, the cold, for hours and hours and hours. They ran together and fell alone upon those foreign fields. Protecting those they loved those frightened human shields.
Do not read these words and think that these things are passed. Do not think you will not hear that deep and dreadful blast. Do not sit in decadence and take for granted peace. You owe a debt to those who died and that debt will never cease.