The Response 2019

For ‘The Response 1914′

‘Though my face is a burnt book’
- Sidney Keyes, War Poet

Some days I look at you and am unmoved.
Stone speaks to stone.

Men cut down cut from copper.

Today, your legacy is the cut of the epaulettes
On my Ted Baker coat.

I sweep the gathered Gregg’s pastry crumbs
From the wool of my front.

I have come to this place
To be the heir to men too young for sons.

If I brought you forth from the fatherland,
With smooth skins of flesh, with all my Pygmalion skill and skins,

You would still be grey shades.
Metal fists mailed in flesh punching through hard-packed earth.

Inside, bone branches crack and curl
And never bloom bordered in bronze and stone.

Our eyes could never meet.
Roots go unwatered.

I’ve read the war poets and I know
You demand I be blooded.

George’s seahorse steeds stamp beneath red waves,
Soundless tramping under Acheron, on the lookout for lost souls

And more comrades.

I look up at hard faces
And try to read to them from an unburnt book.

Pages pristine white, unmuddied.

Daniel Hinds