Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2009

The insignificant things

by Victoria Rose Poolman

For that man there,
It was the stray animals on the streets.
He complained that people shouldn't turf them out:
They can't compete with the street gangs,
They starve and beg,
Not used to a life without attention and off-cuts of beef.
 
For old Mrs Maja,
It was the library.
The great old Turkish vault full of books
That poured smoke, scarred, blackened and burnt:
The great crematorium  
She had spent fifteen years keeping in order.
Who'd sift through the ashes now?
 
For Jon,
It was the onion he nurtured from a single seed.
He watered it and stroked its leaves,
He checked it constantly -
Each night eating his dinner on the overlooking balcony.
Then, when they decided they could wait no longer
And the children's mouths began to water,
Someone came in the night and took it.
 
For those men,
It was the cigarettes.
The deep long inhale
Smokey comfort coiling around inside
Eyes rolling yellow with pleasure at the exhale.
It was fresh air to them,
And parsley just isn't tobacco.
 
It's the small things you see,
The little insignificant details of this war.
 
For me,
It was when you died.

Added: 09.04.2009

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