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       Whence come those dreams
       of homely goodness and the comfort
       of a hearth ? Do killers not
       take aim from behind the shelter
       of a well kept hedge, or from the deep mud
       of a pastured bunker, find themselves,
       adrift in the smell of fresh baked bread, remember
       balloons at a children's party, wet socks
       drying by a fire, and shake their heads
       before they gentle squeeze this trigger ?

       or is this soldier not a killer?
       death bringer, sob in the night,
                dream  your own
                home fire burning


 Lines have fallen for me

  Oh these lines ! Drawn on paper in smoky
  rooms another world away: pinned up as
  tactical research, sketch reference for
  minds where braided shoulders brush the walls in
               passages of mirror and of power !

        you ask why ours is so small? well see, this
        little shape upon your map is home, our
                place to be,

                       we have wheat here, a row of
  poplars, and a castle on the hill: meat
  from wild coney, sheep who browse all day
  along the valley's gentle pleasantry,

               geranium upon the sill nod brightly
               at the cat that lies under our hedge, but
  the line on the land runs through the forest
  somewhere between the bank and the near pont

  Look up at the stone hills, and - yes - the land
  on their map is very large: big and brown.
  Who would want all those dry thistles, paper
              adrift on the autobahn: no comfort
                anywhere ?

  Sit down, man, feed yourself upon this fresh
  baked scone, for I have noticed that this line,
               the line they drew and signed for in
               a mirrored hall so many years ago,
               means we can


                       take wool from our lazy
 sheep into the large city to the east,
 to give their people work, spinning or selling:
               or out to the coast,
                               any more.

  you shrug? perhaps there's coal or oil, somewhere,
 to warm us while we grow them food, but we won't
 know so long as barbed wire stands atop a
 fence for people, not for wandering beasts,

                      there might be wood, or water,
 steel for a brand new railroad: work at the front,
 opening up the plains to more than gunfire,
 more than rolling tanks with tractored treads

               but no, I don't understand at all myself.
               Not why my sons now live so far removed,
               or need to make a living for their young
               in that great poisoned city many miles

                       or why we're paid now not to plant,
 or not to sow, and not to reap. why buy
  our flour from distant lands, a foreign sea

                       Why our bit is so small I do
 not know, but it is good and might be safe,
 if only they would give us access
 to fish from their great lake, passage to market,
               and a place to buy flat rate

                                       why else should we
               survive so meanly, ever start to hate ?

alice thorpe
18 May, 1999