The Disenchanted Believer is a long-retired schoolteacher who moved to the Valencian Community long before – in his words – “the disastrous act of suicide and duplicity of the 2016 Brexit referendum”. A former (small c) conservative, he started to support Labour under Blair and has grown increasingly angry at what he calls “that treacherous liar Johnson and the other Brexiteers”. This poem records his anguish at the scenes of death and devastation in Yemen…
Victims of War
In a shattered ward amid shattered streets
Lie starving children, too weak to cry.
Their listless eyes gaze wearily
In mute acceptance of man’s mad world.
The Madonna mother, with downcast eyes,
Looks despairing at her treasure, a sack of bones.
Those breasts, once vibrant, a young bride’s pride,
Now droop despondent, like withered fruit.
Yet her suckling child, at nature’s urging,
Clings to her breast, in hopeless hope.
And round the ward sit other children,
Too sad, too tired, too weak to cry.
And scattered among them sit old young mothers
Staring hollow-eyed at an empty world,
A world that cares not, a guilty world.
Above, the genius of man’s creation
Screams out its chorus of deadly doom.
Where’s your manna now, Lord, is their need less great ?
Are they lesser creatures, less worth your love ?
Who do we blame, Lord ? Men with hearts of stone,
Whose only god is the god of greed ?
Or our God creator who gave us life,
And with it the seeds of those deadly sins
That destroy our reason and make us monsters ?
No, blaming God is the liar’s subterfuge,
A sleight of hand to dazzle us fools
And protect the image of guilty men.
Are our leaders guileless when with hearts aglow
They melt without scruple in the vile embrace
Of smiling killers in religious garb ?
And can massive profits from the sale of arms
Still the puny cry of a stifled conscience ?
When our gleaming fighters, our pride and glory,
Streak with lightning speed across Arab skies
To destroy the powerless – no striding champion,
Just starving women, and helpless babes –
Then our masters, horrified, feigning righteous anger,
Denounce the killings in cultured tones.
And the money flows from the taxpayer’s pocket
To proclaim their beneficence to an admiring world.
Worse even than the deaths that cry out for vengeance
Is the abhorrent hypocrisy of those sanitised killers.