Michael Thorne


I read an image of design,

Some remnant of civilisation:

Get lost! It shouted

And I got lost.

Get stoned! It smiled

And I did the same.

Get ready! It beckoned

And I lost my feeling.

Get out, it mumbled

And I left its side.

On seeing the unedited footage of war

Crowd fisted like screaming fools,

A wailing head in a mother’s breast

And all about falling, falling

Down into some terrible consequence.

The future,

Crying out with wild eyes

In unison, then in tandem, then disharmony.

Broken, shattered limbs and the boy,

The boy with the face half gone,

Still standing, numbly, swaying

In a hot desert wind that punctures his skull.

The crowd, throbbing and unwieldy,

Running like some maddened river

Through the obvious course,

Suddenly darts to stagger

Upon a fleeing stranger caught out of place,

Beaten to a pulp and raised above heads,

Body lifeless and no longer breathing,

Head flapping against the empty sky.

The crowd, maddened and quaking,

Shocking the walls of the houses around,

Hammering the shuttered shops.

Bathed crimson-red, white and brown,

Heavy in the scent of sweat and blood

That runs in the faces and in the gutters,

That rises to a crescendo

Endless, pulsing, unattainable.

The crowd, twisting and tumbling,

Uncertain of how to express

The multitude of fear, hate and despair,


Spills out into torrents, slows

To a trickle of heavy limbs, eyes, souls.

Grief in the consequence, grief in the means,

The ends and the beginning of it all.

Still shouting at forces they cannot stop

They are wild and desperation

Leads to belief in their own power,

The force of God, however misguided.

Michael Thorne © 2009