There was nothing to help us
Trapped in that ornamental summer
By sunlight and ubiquitous foreboding; the tides
The pebbles indifferent to our sore feet
Told us nothing: banner headlines
Congealed those lukewarm fish and chips.
From where we stood to the horizon
The future stretched like a brooding canvas
Awaiting a blood stained brush. There were rocks
and groundsheets to sleep on, nowhere to go.
Only the tanks knew where to assemble.
Who would win who would lose
Whose corpse would hang on the wire
Would come later. The seagulls knew
More than we did as they wheeled above us
Like fighter bombers, their droppings
Illegible leafets, mobilising their screeches
As they crossed and recrossed concrete
Frontiers reinforced in the Underworld.
It didn’t need to happen. It shouldn’t
But it would. Limbs still free
Twitched with the urge to run: the sea
Was a threat not a refuge: the sky
Was closing in. We could only turn and face
The mouth of the tunnel: only wait
For the machine to emerge and howl
On our behalf as it ran us down.
by Emyr Humphreys