Monday, 16 November 2009

Agnus Dei

Agnus Dei

One never hangs where shelled roads part.

In this war he to lost a limb, but his disciples hide apart:

And now the soldiers bear with him.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona eis requiem.

Lamb of God you take away the sins of the world grant them rest.

Near Golgotha strolls many a priest,

And in their faces is pride

that they where flesh-marked by the beast

by whom the gentle Christ’s denied.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona eis requiem.

The scribes on all the people shove

And brawl allegiance to the state.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,

But they who love the greater love

Lay down their life: they do not hate.

dona eis requiem sempiternam.

Grant them rest eternal.

Dona nobis pacem.

Last Post by Carol Ann Duffy

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,

He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If poetry could tell it backwards, true, begin

that moment shrapnel scythed you to the stinking mud ...

but you get up, amazed, watch bled bad blood

run upwards from the slime into its wounds;

see lines and lines of British boys rewind

back to their trenches, kiss the photographs from home -

mothers, sweethearts, sisters, younger brothers

not entering the story now

to die and die and die.

Dulce - No - Decorum - No - Pro patria mori.

You walk away.

You walk away; drop your gun (fixed bayonet)

like all your mates do too -

Harry, Tommy, Wilfred, Edward, Bert -

and light a cigarette.

There's coffee in the square,

warm French bread

and all those thousands dead

are shaking dried mud from their hair

and queuing up for home. Freshly alive,

a lad plays Tipperary to the crowd, released

from History; the glistening, healthy horses fit for heroes, kings.

You lean against a wall,

your several million lives still possible

and crammed with love, work, children, talent, English beer, good food.

You see the poet tuck away his pocket-book and smile.

If poetry could truly tell it backwards,

then it would.