Poem 110 – Adam’s Drums

That old drum beat begins to sound once more
A pounding that propels the soldiers feet
Forward despite their tightly tied blindfolds
Momentum that once built is slow to stop

Is this an echo of a former rhythm?
A conflict of two dominant worldviews
Or is it deeper, hidden, our hardwired
Propensity to tend to selfish interest?

Across Ukraine the battle blunders on
And protests rise against the perpetrators
But when I look inside I sadly see
Those same old seeds do germinate in me

Whilst some may cite our finite human nature
Others the doctrine of original sin
Which one of us has never wanted to
Snatch what we could or lash out in our fury

So whilst I pray for peace in Putin’s war
And angry ask for his just punishment
I also seek forgiveness for myself
A hope that’s hypocritical I’m sure

I caught Jeremy Bowen saying something about the drum beat of the cold war in the current conflict in Ukraine. Got me thinking about the different drums we respond to

© Ben Quant 2022

Poem 105 – Marina

The camera never lies
Except today it does in
Disinformation wars
Where truth is weaponised
With claims and counterclaims
Creating foul confusion
A new curtain descends
Dividing East from West
But now and then a spark
Will permeate this wall
The brave speaking despite
The risk of consequences
Ovsyannikova chants
‘They’re lying to you here’
Ovsyannikova chants
‘They’re lying to you here’

This morning I hear about Marina Ovsyannikova, editor on the state-controlled Russian TV Channel 1, who bravely held up a placard in protest during the Monday evening news. It read, “No war, stop the war, don’t believe the propaganda, they are lying to you here.”

© Ben Quant 2022

Poem 101 – Putin’s ’84

Is Poem 101
The verse where fears are found?
It feels appropriate
To write that at a time
When doublespeak is heard
I never thought that I
Would see Orwell’s nightmare
Realised, but ‘war is peace’
Is spoken now abroad
Does two and two make five?
Of course not but Putin
Pedals his lies as truth
Portraying tanks as sheep
Their ignorance his strength

They say truth is stranger than fiction. Today we see fiction beginning truth.

© Ben Quant 2022

Poem 97 – Incomprehension

Today the sky is blue, a robin chirps
Flitting, his red breast skips into my view
And all is calm. Except it’s not. Somewhere
The tanks rumble forward. Missiles fire. Red stains.
How can this be? How can our world encompass
This contradiction? Why should I enjoy the sun
When members of my family unmet
Know only fear, uncertainty and try
To conjure up the bravery required?
To pour out verse cannot compare with what
Is asked of them, but what else can
I offer? I have no gun. Only prayer.
And so I call upon another who
Was subjected to unfair violence.
I cannot comprehend, but maybe he
Whose blood was also shed might understand?

The tanks rumble into Kyiv whilst here the sun shines.

© Ben Quant 2022

Poem 96 – Futility (or Breakfast with Putin)

I woke to hear of bombs
Rumours of war but not
Here. Elsewhere. Far away.
Eating my breakfast I’m safe
I think. I only hear
Vicariously. However
It still disturbs my meal.
I think how awful it
Would be to be woken
By such a bomb in person.
I tweet denouncing this
Then doom-scroll for a while
Thinking someone must do
Something. When finished I
Rise, hunger satisfied.

Sometimes, hearing the news feels a futile affair, desperate situations meet our inability to comprehend them or respond in a meaningful way.

© Ben Quant 2022