Alistair Noon

Facets of a Soviet Battletank

Defending Socialism in thirteen states
it redirected the traffic in Prague;
then, in rows at the Afghan border,
improvised its own car park.

A press-out cardboard piece
for a weeklong boardgame.
Its pilot-capped driver was waiting
to do skids on the North German Plain.

Mass transit for passengers headed
for the English Channel with no ticket.
Produced and counted by plan,
estimated in foreign statistics.

Descended from the wild dogs of Kursk,
bullet-shield and tankbuster’s target.
Till tipped to one side in Wenceslas Square
not, not assuredly to be photographed.

The Age demanded an Image:
a ploughshare beaten into a T-54.
Brezhnev’s altarboys, Yeltsin’s podium,
in the Museum of Threatened War.