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21st Century Poetry Bruce Kent

by ROBERT ILSON

 

What makes a man?  His readiness in war,
To kill and die while in the midst of killing
To spare no stone or child; and to be willing
To joke about it afterwards; what’s more
To flaunt the medals given for such labour
So kids will join up to be heroes too
Unless the consequences in plain view
Shock them from dreams of military favour.

Bruce Kent had seen it all and come to feel
That so much carnage was unjustified,
That those who glorified it mostly lied
That masculinity was no less real
If what was waged instead of war was peace:
We’ll carry on his work till all wars cease!

 

Robert Ilson is a lexicographer doomed at last to wake a poet (as Samuel Johnson was ‘a poet doomed at last to wake a lexicographer’). 21st-century Poetry is edited by Andy Croft, email [email protected].

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