Poetry & Spoken Word

Please submit any anti-war poetry to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Michael Rosen: When they do war, they forget how to count

When they do war
They forget how to count

They forget how to count
And that's how they do it.

They come
They kill

They kill
They go

They give us
No numbers
No names
They disappear them
They vanish them
It's how they do it.

They come
They kill

They kill
They go

Names are deleted
Numbers are un-counted
bodies are un-included
Faces are un-remembered
That's how they do it.

They come in
They flush out

They mop up
They take out

No numbers
No names

No names
No numbers

And it's worth it,
they say.
It's worth it.
Believe us, it's worth it
believe us.
Oh yes it IS worth it
if you forget how to count.
It IS worth it
if you forget the numbers.
It IS worth it
if you forget the names.
It IS worth it
if you forget the faces.
That's how they do it.

we're counting.
Watch us:
we're counting.
we're counting.

–we count.

Source: Michael Rosen's blog

A C Clarke: Silence

Remembrance Day Nov 11

They do it for us
those bareheaded leaders
in greatcoats,
fixed in black and white
since the eleventh hour
in front of the great white
sham as they wait for the drumroll
of heavy artillery, the scream
of flypast.

They believe themselves
as those did who shot lads
at dawn, wrote letters
I regret to say your son…
perform prescribed rites
to sanctify
desert patrols, the tedium
of death-in-waiting
the two minute frenzy
that leaves a child in ruins.
They do it for us
so that we need not hear
the question in a poppy
white as a corpse
the confused cries
of those set free to die
the old lie, the old lie.

They do it for us
sporting their poppies
like novice hunters blooded.
Nothing is said. Not here.
Not in the villages
whose obelisks, obscure with names,
carry their complement of sodden wreaths.
Not in libraries, schools, prisons.

Break this silence,
break ranks.

Allan Graham: A Soldier’s Battle

I heard the call of duty
I heard the lion’s roar
I felt the pride burn in my heart, the day I marched to war
Security is Freedom
They told me, War is Peace
They ordered me to kill some terrorists in The Middle East

Now my war is over, in the desert sun
But as my war came to an end, a new war has begun
It isn’t fought with bullets
It isn’t of that kind
No, in this war, there’s only me
For it’s fought within my mind

I see him every second
He cannot run or walk
He doesn’t smile
He doesn’t laugh
And he never seems to talk
He doesn’t scream
He doesn’t cry
The pain he feels no more
I throw his corpse upon his mother dying on the floor
I butchered them for Freedom
I slaughtered them for Peace
They told me they were terrorists in The Middle East

I heard a coward’s lies
I heard the Devil’s roar
I didn’t know I marched to hell, the day I marched to war

Allan Graham: Once Upon a Time

There’s no happy ever afters
No land where dreams come true
No pot of gold; No wishing well
No Peter Pan; No Tinkerbell
No us
No me
No you

Tell her I did my duty as all brave young soldiers can
Tell her I was a hero - a warrior
But most of all a man

Say - Once Upon a Time in some far off foreign land
When the battle raged against us - your soldier took command
And on his own he charged their lines with nothing but a gun
And on his own he killed them all - he killed the bloody hun

Don’t tell her that I wet myself when the sergeant shouted ‘CHARGE!!’
Don’t tell her that I screamed and cried when all around me fell and died
Don’t tell her that he saw me run
Don’t tell her of the colonel’s gun

There’s no happy ever afters
No land where dreams come true
No pot of gold; No wishing well
No Peter Pan; No Tinkerbell
No us
No me
No you

Ray Ant: Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence. (Using :- Finance, War, Media and Video games, terminology).

Bull and bear system needs a bleed of surplus feed, fear masses to believe.

The rally of the hardware price, fix the weaponry portfolio as a principal trade.

Defensive cyclical stock shock, a fill or kill order from inside information.

In field of theatre, volatility yields new transactions, as victims are just pixels.

Fiat money from finance guidance systems, made by fey players in network web of conflict, are also unlawful combatants.

Anxiety and uncertainty of juvenile testosterone used as human shields of profit.

Electronic hostilities of General’s frag-mented decisions, create petroleum stock rises, as cash from chaos and conflict.

Invisible wall the desk top switch box, kill cam of belligerent drones, liquidation order of collateral damage laying down a carpet of surgical assets... misaligned.

Random wrath of irregular asymmetric engagements, soft targets with occasional friendly fire, the auto clones with survival horror, re-living the digital vision.

Naked writers in the field of fire, freeze the futures history, some as protagonists or antagonists, record the fallen on the mission creep and crawling migration trail, as news is on sale.

Claw of revenge never ends in the Arbit-rage of the kill streak game, there no re-spawn, only a rage quit, if a bug hits the underlying interests.

The game of blame with no shame on the clearing day, everyone else must pay.

New plan of arrangements in final clutch, of break through moments, leads to democratisation of exploitation, the oppression of the interest rates, and repression of the price index.

The whole machine needs to be reprogrammed for futures rest.

Then shadows of the past will then fade at last.

Mike Douse: Armistice

The Royal British Legion sold over forty-six million poppies this year

They must sport poppies, those who’re on the BBC. Mayhap
The same for ITV and Sky – I haven’t checked with them.
[The Chinese are bemused by aides-mémoires that bloom upon
The lush lapels of merchants, ministers and our PM.]

It is not hard to honour those who left their lives or limbs
On ‘just cause’ battlefields – when all (including rebels) rose
With swords in hand against the Nazi foe, and found through friends
A readiness to die. I readily remember those.

We all have ancestors who carried arms for countries, kings
Or queens (but, in effect, for commerce and the CBI);
Is it for them that I must bear the artificial bloom
And fall in line, much as we had to weep for Princess Di?

I wear no poppy, never have, I’m not sure why. Perhaps
It’s egotistic cussedness. I seek not to offend,
Nor make some vain, sententious point. Respect
For who perished, heedless of the reason, has no end.

I likewise stand in silence by the empty tomb. I watch
The wheel-chaired men roll by. For me, too close this sacred rite,
Too near the buglers’ notes – recruitment amidst remembrance,
In times of unwise, unjust wars – to further calls to fight.