Kicking a Mortar Bomb
by Michael Brett

When I hear birds singing then it that seems nothing can go wrong.

After two days with the mortar crews,
Death spoke to me like a sentry: I was watching
The bombs leap like salmon from the mortar tubes
And-there's the wonder of it-hanging for an instant
Over the muzzles;
And the explosions drummed and slashed the throats
Of sheep and sunsets.

One night, crossing the fields-with soup!-
I kicked the dormant snout of one of our bombs
That had slid across the wet grass on its belly,
My steel toe cap clanged hard on its detonator:
Halt, who goes there?
I ran and ran.

Sometimes when the future seems like a cold swimming pool-
And the world a plank-
I think of everything as bombs; as steel webs of cogs and pins,
Straining to explode.

Then, I open the windows and listen to all the birds in London
Flying from their parks and gardens to sing to me.

Copyright © 2010 - Michael Brett
Published: 9/23/10   ·  Author's Page   ·  Next Poem