Paradise by Glyn Hughes
One time there was a boy who knew
there was no Paradise but this:
a tent pitched in a field; a friend
shared long enough to be quiet
when lit by youths epiphanies:
birdsong over morning dew,
and Palgraves Golden Treasury.
In the next scene,
Just like in the movies,
a suicidal plane, crew tensed for Paradise
(theyre promised a hundred virgins each)
splits the world on its souls fault-line.
This incident is the arrowhead of wars
and we kill in mass for those, not for particulars.
Such ones as this (the heart would die not kill for this):
shrouds laid in another field
(no cattle here, no walls left up, no grass)
no time to count how many, with the news
snatched away as soon as glimpsed.
A mistake or a subversive in the newsroom?
But this I saw: the free worlds enemy —
a row of children (under tattered cloths)
who did not know why life was poor nor why
what they had little time to see
came out of the sky. Intelligence
had claimed Bin Laden there, but he was not,
and Americas Lidice was snatched before you could say
this is not like the movies.
Each party has a paradise of its own,
and perfumed gardens breed the warriors
of the Apocalypse!
Armageddons haunt the human race.
The big tides are beyond us but the small ones hurt.
Id be happy in another place,
though wouldnt choose anywhere but here right now.
I stare at my distanced field over a fence.
Theres the hills, the same. Farms almost the same.
Descendants of the flowers bloom like their ghosts.
There we pitched our tent.
I miss my friend. I peer over the barbed wires
defiance of a hope going back to Gerrard Winstanley.
Keep out! The notice says.