Welcome to Poetic Licence – a weekly poetry forum, hosted by us, featuring words by local poets. This week? A return by Fiona Tinwei Lam.
In front of his sons, my grandfather
crumpled on a Hong Kong street under a rain of kicks
and blows by Imperial Japanese soldiers.
His wives and daughters poised
to smear their faces and bodies with shit,
their only shield against another Nanking.
Now, clips of Vimy Ridge on television,
trenches, tanks, marching,
explosions in sepia, black and white.
Scenes of bombers droning like oversized flies
above a recent kill. Cities on fire.
Each labels the other side devils
while scorching homes to hell.
Downtown, a ceremony--
the choir sings its youthful grief,
a crowd, umbrellas, light rain,
the bugle's clear line of yearning
calling out to what continues
in Aghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Myanmar--
years of accumulating
death. A vigil to wait out the worst
we can be to each other.
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