Out Of The Sighs by Dylan Thomas

Out of the sighs a little comes,
But not of grief, for I have knocked down that
Before the agony; the spirit grows,
Forgets, and cries;
A little comes, is tasted and found good;
All could not disappoint;
There must, be praised, some certainty,
If not of loving well, then not,
And that is true after perpetual defeat.

After such fighting as the weakest know,
There’s more than dying;
Lose the great pains or stuff the wound,
He’ll ache too long
Through no regret of leaving woman waiting
For her soldier stained with spilt words
That spill such acrid blood.

Were that enough, enough to ease the pain,
Feeling regret when this is wasted
That made me happy in the sun,
And, sleeping, made me dream
How much was happy while it lasted,
Were vagueness enough and the sweet lies plenty,
The hollow words could bear all suffering
And cure me of ills.

Were that enough, bone, blood, and sinew,
The twisted brain, the fair-formed loin,
Groping for matter under the dog’s plate,
Man should be cured of distemper.
For all there is to give I offer:
Crumbs, barn, and halter.

 

by Dylan Thomas

 

After Kosovo by Richard Poole

“… as a systemic idea that has some dynamics, some real vitality, liberal democracy is really all there is now…”

Francis Fukuyama

.

If this is the end of history, why

do thousands wake in cold fields, faces

in their neighbours’ stink, minds mined

with memories of blood, a puzzled dog nosing

the glazing eyes of somebody’s grandmother?

.

If this is the end of history, why

do so many cheeks wear chains of tears,

as if water were the one thing they can squeeze out

from their arid selves when everything else

is gone – houses, chattels, husbands, wives, kids?

.

Yet this is the end of history after all,

for where’s the going back to the book of life

gone up in flames, charred covers like black

frontiers suddenly all that’s left of it, lettering

undecipherable in the raw light of dawn?

.

.

by Richard Poole