War Intelligence
by Michael Brett

Move my desk to the window so I can see the angels.

Our Fundamentalist troops say the heavy guns talk like God
And everyone knows his bookmarked pages are the roads to the front.
His words are underlined with men lying with green arms over green faces,
Where shells polish the air to blueness. We are weak.

So as doctors look for sanity in dementia
And listen at the bedside of a feverish world,
And rummage in its pockets for foreign coins and bus tickets,
Our people look at captured maps and speeches on the television;

Our plague doctors steal from the Bedlam of the human heart
And with long paper beaks, interpret its ravings; memorise its car numbers,
Its restaurant bills, its train times, like obsessives counting lamp posts;

And like Seventeenth Century physicians, they taste the king's urine
For its sweetness, probe the enemy king's stool for clues
As to his health and confidence: will he campaign in Spring?

So move my desk to the windows so I too can see the angels;
So I too can pick the pockets of the dead
And through their wedding rings see the future.

Copyright © 2013 - Michael Brett
Published: 4/4/13   ·  Author's Page   ·  Next Poem