Before the war


You know who they are. Everyone knows who they are. They're you.
You know who they are. They’re you.

Before The War


Before the war in our hearts

We kissed on the platform.

The guard blew his whistle.

Wooden doors slammed shut

Minding our fingers.

My hand on your waist.

Your fingers on my shoulder.

Remembering other times

And our hands and hearts

And when I remember that now

I know it didn’t happen.

There were no steam trains

Long before you were born.

I didn’t wear a hat or a British Warm.

You didn’t wear an A line skirt

And a long woollen coat

And we weren’t afraid of babies.

There were plenty of things

We were afraid of

But not that. And we didn’t talk

About them anyway, so it didn’t matter.

It wasn’t as if they could get in the way.

There were no cheery porters

Carrying our bags for a tanner tip.

‘Blimey, thanks guvnor,

You’re a gent and no mistake.’

It wasn’t ever that way in our lives.

Django Reinhardt didn’t play as our Blue Train

Wheeled down to the Cornish Riviera

We didn’t take the Boat Train to the Continent

Via Harwich, tapping our feet in memory

Of Sidney Bechet on clarinet at the Trocadero

The night before; via all the places

Where once other heroes queued in line

Embarking or demobbed, waiting patiently

For their lives to begin again,

The ones that could.

So why do I remember it this way?

You’re still here. We are, maybe.

Who is it talking to me?

Why do I seem to see a woman’s face as if in fog

Sometimes until I look again

And there’s no-one there?

There never was.

Who is it calling to me, telling me be nice

It doesn’t matter, nothing does?

Only love. Take care.

Make love, take love while it’s there.

Call the ceasefire.

Agree terms, an honourable peace,

Even unconditional surrender

If you mean it. But stop the fighting.

Put up your bright swords

Put down your arms

Put your fingers on each other’s lips

And kiss. Do it now.

While your hearts are still bare.


(c) Carl Bennett 2014


Just to clarify, no, I haven’t had a massive bust-up with anybody. Quite the opposite. This is a poem. It’s a first take, down in one like a Saturday night cocktail. It probably needs a bit of tweaking. But like any fiction, while it might call to you and I hope it does it isn’t real. But as the other Bladerunner said right at the end of the film, then again, what is?





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