War Poets

Paul Verlaine’s Chanson d’automne
was coded – still popular poetry –
to give notice –

his long sobs of French-sung violins
declared an Allied invasion
to those listening

Whilst she never understood speeches
of love – and our common
mistakes –

I would rarely read to her – she rarely read
my mutterings – my weight-pared

She never understood what was being said
She found poetry too difficult
her own résistance

Smoke Over Paris

Their Lady of Paris burnt
in one online afternoon
Her re-imagined spire
tipped to robes of smoke

like a bloodied lance
in surrender – once more –
to politics and holy battles
in a kindless fog of war

Her heated metals ran
as dark beaded sweats
from her swealing heights
to leave cooled scabs

of Saint Thomas – and others –
spattered across worn stones
under her collapsed transept
Those slabs will be saved

with high relics – rescued
from clouds above la quatrième
No puzzle of scattered ashes –
France has her couronne d’épines


Cher Steve Bannon,

Comment redémarrer le mal?
Vous l’avez trop facile
mon altesse-droite,

vous avez votre chemin,
avec la haine, votre haine,
votre politique de quatre lettres:

Tenez leurs têtes courbées,
prendre leurs cœurs sombres,
et ensuite nourrir, si longtemps,

sur leurs intestins bouillonnés,
assaisonné de toss-politique,
raisonnement c’est tout pour eux.

Là, mon cruel ami,
est votre projet déplié
à construire avec l’iniquité.


Mike Bell.