I wrote the poem below when Bush and Blair invaded Iraq, but the feeling still holds for today, with Israel's Government waging a shameful war on Hamas, killing children in the process.
We cannot be truly happy when atrocities are being carried out. I feel kind of numb this time. How can people be so stupid?
This is our chimpanzee nature coming out. Ironic that intelligent, technically sophisticated chimpanzees are solemnly conferring together to plan the best way of hurting the neighbouring chimpanzees. Doubly ironic that these alpha males both believe that the god who is driving them on in this madness is some kind of Universal Being. Wrong. The god that drives these men to murder is a psycho-social construct, a tribal fetish, and has no relation to the source of the universe or any kind of goodness.
Adrian Mitchell put this poem third in a competition organised by Iraq Occupation Focus and Red Pepper.
A Wood in Somerset, Iraq
Stone still in opalescent air
trees wait supportively.
Light splinters on new leaves.
Sun for the seventh day
blesses an English spring.
Two thousand lives away
this anticyclone fires up a storm
that drowns a nightmare world
in ochre light.
The peace I feel
leaning against the powerful fist
that grips the earth, cushioned with moss,
back shaped, kind as an elephant,
finds its reflection in a furious world
of men who sleep walk,
fall on their mother's skin,
give screaming fire,
act and react,
but cannot take it in.
While birdsong fills my head,
sharp as the sunlight
sparking on those tiny points of green.
One hammer headed woodpecker,
knowing no better and no worse,
fires off his rounds.
I should be suffering,
but the world is folded at my side,
its front page images of death
have left off stirring
in this gentle air.
© Richard Lawson