What Passing Bells

What Passing Bells
sashafatcat

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audio: What Passing Bells
audio of Rory Waterman's poem, What Passing Bells

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What Passing Bells

A policeman blocks the road so I stop
and tut and tap the wheel and find a sweet
and scrape it through its wrapper with my teeth.
More cars stop. Then bright rustling up the street
from snare drums and some reedy trumpet-calls
remind us all what day it is. In front

the noise grows to a wail. The band files past,
the soldiers, local groups, then ranks of kids
half out of time, with backs and shoulders stiff,
some looking at us looking at them for
just long enough to say a thousand words
in glares. They don’t remember any wars

but TV ones, and nor (confess) do you:
just TV wars, most justice-compromised
in barren lands, for rich commodities
I’m using up, a quiet friend by my side
with best intentions, clothes from Oxfam shops,
our flask packed for a cold stroll by the sea.