John Welch


'Everything is calmer now than it was immediately after the war or immediately before it, or even one hundred years before that. The "weight" and "tranquillity" of the USSR is being gradually imparted to the whole world. The British Fleet steams slowly and calmly through the blue Mediterranean. In the industrial areas a healing sunshine falls on acres of half-ruined factories. The more people try to create war, the more peaceful everybody becomes.'
Note: for USSR read US

Charles Madge, c.1930

Low rise. Something of an off-white colour
The walls a sort of scumbled finish.
It runs beside the cemetery,
Victorian. Overgrown.
'In 1966', the leaflet reads
'Relevant parts were freed
From the effects of consecration'.

A window lifts like a lid
Releasing the effects of music,
Its ethnicity not immediately apparent.

Like a globe still spinning in an empty classroom
Half the surface bruised with red
The mistake still dogs our steps.

An elderly Bengali —
You'll see that kind of person
Waiting in the post office
As if still queuing at the end of empire.
He counts his pounds and one remembers
All that marching, counter-marching,
It was such ridiculous apparel —
Is it blood on my hands, or is it
Newsprint my hands are stained with?
In any case walking in there
Alone one afternoon among
The scarcely legible dead
I arrived at a small clearing,
A block of whitish stone, some strands of ivy
That clung there, instead of a name that might
Indicate what was buried in the ground
Beyond the reach of all that music.