Jacqui Bennett Writers Bureau


Autumn 2001 Poetry Competition Second Prize

Under the Dead Moon


David Whitehead

(I currently have no email address for David, but please email me with your comments, and I'll be sure to pass them on.)


They were a sacrifice to hatred and violence,

A fulfilment at the stroke of destruction

To a greater innocence.


Tortured and twisted they became grotesque

Parodies of a previous grace, ribcages shattered

And legs splayed into hideous angles.


Before, they would herd overnight in stalls

Timid and closeknit as deer,

Midnight catching their silver sheen,


And dawn would ignite their instincts,

A squeak and a stretch as they strained

To go their separate ways,


Elegant beasts of burden and keenly

Responsive throughout each routine journey

To the slightest whisper of the traces.


But that was yesterday! Before evil

Made us redefine what is good

And all those soft edges were erased,


Before under the dead moon the vandals crept in,

Sought out and savaged the weakest targets,

Tossing the remains to canal, skip and siding.


The healing process, though, addresses no equal,

It rescues and restores, replaces if needs be,

Alchemises despair into hope,


And sooner than we think, - today, now,

The eager trolleys leap again from their blocks,

Some piggying wide-eyed infants.


Some harmlessly highjacked by excited schoolboys,

But most weave down and harvest the aisles of plenty

That remain the real object of the vandals' hatred.


©2001 David Whitehead

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