The Wave

Detail from Hokusai's The Great Wave off Kanagawa

Detail from Hokusai’s The Great Wave off Kanagawa

The Wave

(after Hardy)

They gathered up the guns and tanks,
divided the soldiers into ranks,
turned to face the enemy –
make a new date for history.

Prepare to fight – the order came
as the foe came into sight –
horizon-filled: a mighty wave
sent them all into their grave.

All the bullets, guns and bombs,
nuclear missiles impotent.
What use these weapons made by Man
with humanity an also-ran.

What use now the hunger and greed,
the makers of superfluous need.
What use those forgotten goals
for climate change and ozone holes?

What use the trillions spent on arms –
while dust and drought sucked up the farms,
as consequences grew in turn
enough to wither, drown and burn.

All the bullets ever made, every gun
every grenade, every cluster or barrel bomb,
laser rays, loud battleships, whispering drone –
secret weapons until then unknown,
gathered up in proud array –
for once all pointing the same way –
(although no silver saucer spun
beneath the unforgiving sun)
singing from the same hymn sheet, as they say.
recording the Earth’s sad lament –
a planet came a planet went.

~Pete Mullineaux, October 2014

Pete Mullineaux’s latest book Just a Second!  Exploring Global Issues through Drama & Theatre has just been published and is available to buy from the Afri office.

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