11 September, 2010

Impressions of a Catastrophe

(After the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the USA the real terror takes hold around the world - especially for the people of Afghanistan)

Commemorating the 9th anniversary of vengeance, paranoia and ignorance rammed down our throats here is my poem from 9 September 2001:

Every rifle is a classroom

Every bullet is a book

Every boy can be a father

Or a soldier in the slaughter


The morning our world changed

Began early with two unanswered

Calls from Canada at 1.30

Messages announcing that

America was being attacked

She didn't know what else to do

We only discovered later

At seven my lover rose to

Go to the toilet

I idly leant across to

Flick on the news for a few minutes

She returned to my stunned silence

You've got to hear this I said

It was no fondling matter

She said could we live in a world

Where this kind of thing can't happen

Later I interviewed two boys

Who wanted to go into the infantry

And a girl who wants to be a Navy chef - they meant it

The shock was too much to bear


While people leapt from buildings

Collapsing in a tangle of steel

White asbestos clouds

Governments released

Embarrassing media statements

Under the cover of death

The deceit came to light


The worst crime of terrorists

The threat to 'our way of life'

Ours the profligate gorging

Of earth’s resources

Unfettered greed in the face

Of unparalleled suffering

Yes this threat is real

The more we ignore the cries of the hungry

The closer that threat becomes

We are not safe


If you are worried by

Bio terrorism Anthrax on the keyboard

Then be assured that your government

Is doing everything it can to

Remove the threat

But nothing to remove its cause

Their advice to citizens

Beset with fear

Stay indoors

Keep your television on

Listen to what your government

Is telling you

Go about your business

As though none of this

Is happening

And have a sombre birthday

A distracted football game


Deep in the underground cities

Tunnelled below a defoliated landscape

The Vietnamese

Held poetry readings

Somehow to make sense

Of what was going on above


We were all relieved to hear

The Pentagon is back in business

And reassured to know

The CIA can once again return

To assassinations

In their war on terror


This war like no other

Will last a hundred years

And never will be over

Nor any victories won

Each day's battle costs

Enough to feed the hungry

Each missile reiterates

An unwillingness to listen


The gold market today

Was disappointed that the price

Had not risen above 295

Following the commencement

Of US bombing

They began selling

The precious metal


And children messaging

Their mobiles sending friends

The one about Bin Laden Airways

Taking you right to your office

Changing our world for ever

The other joke about the friendless one

Asking if he can come

Home to your place


Send the fleet the planes the missiles

And watch them scatter

In the tens of thousands

Perishing in the arid landscape

Before a shot is fired

7 ½ million about to starve

Where does compassion fatigue end

And mean-spiritedness begin

There are only 23 million more

Asylum seekers around the globe

Is there is room on the beach

They'll be there

Willy Bach © 2001


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