Leaving is a song of sadness, a keening

in the wetlands like cries of geese and gulls –

but there’s no agony in this word, no skull

in the catacombs white and screaming,

no heart ripped out, no untimely weaning

when daughters are raped, enslaved, no cull

of a woman’s sons. The child’s footfall

washes away. And this is what leaving means.


As it must have meant, in myth or in fact,

to the mothers of Athens whose children

vanished, sacrificed to a monstrous cause,

just because, oh just because of an act

of folly, secret itineraries and hidden

deceits. Pointless, the dying because.





Mandy Pannett
Georgina Baillie




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