In cute dinosaur socks,
a child dies on a gurney,
his inconsolable mother
buckling at her knees.

The columns and crowds
of displaced and terrified,
pack platforms in stations
which no trains can leave.

A baby’s mitten, a child’s glove,
another, all dropped in the rush,
reach up from the sludge,
as if the Earth is raising its hands.

Hunkered in bitter forests
Russian boys with frozen rifles
make tearful videos on mobile phones.
Uninformed, misled, poorly planned.

The man with polonium eyes,
anti-socially distant and small,
so small, sits in a vast white room
like a maggot in a fridge.

His ridiculous table will never
be long enough to bear all the names
of the bodies in the graves he alone,
with bare hands and buckled knees, should dig.



Marc Woodward




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