Enjoying peace

‘If war happens now, it happens far from me and from the peace that we enjoy in Britain today…our remembering is suitably complicated.’   – N. Biggar

Red poppies coursing out of towers:

less like blood than one might think.

Blood one hundred years of age

would be brown or black, the colours of dust.


To dust return the dead, whyever their deaths.

The metaphor of blood is quick-drying. Its rivulets,

its floods are only ever red in that cloying

sentimental closet called memory which


both shouts and, decorously, whispers

a compelling lie: ‘We are enjoying peace’.

Vague – or even concrete – cultural liberties

and peace are not equivalent. We are not


enjoying peace so much as ignoring war

or wars; plural, pluriform, and distant only

in geography. And what isn’t distant

in geography from an island nation?


Close. So close. In cause and captive,

in complicity and in benefit, war is nearer

than the Tower-poppies tainted the red

of a kindergarten child’s colour wheel


turned from the dried blood to that now spilling;

to the camps of hopelessness where the fled

flock only to be corralled and pinioned out of sight

so some might say ‘We are enjoying peace’.