Socialist Worker

Poets speak out against the war

Issue No. 1840

AN INSPIRATIONAL evening of poetry took place on the eve of the great London demonstration against the war. Adrian Mitchell and Michael Rosen performed the poems we print here at the packed event which took place in London.

There were also exhilarating and moving renditions from Benjamin Zephaniah, Tony Harrison, Iraqi poet Saadi Yousef, Linton Kwesi Johnson and many more. All were united in opposition to war against Iraq. The event was organised by Poets Against the War. To find out more, or perhaps to contribute your own poetry, e-mail poetsagainstwar@yahoo.co.uk


To Whom It May Concern

I was run over by the truth one day
Ever since the accident I've walked this way
So stick my legs in plaster
Tell me lies about Iraq.

Heard the alarm clock screaming with pain
Couldn't find myself so I went back to sleep again
So fill my ears with silver Stick my legs in plaster
Tell me lies about Iraq.

Every time I shut my eyes all I see is flames
Made a marble phone book and I carved all the names
So coat my eyes with butter
Fill my ears with silver
Stick my legs in plaster
Tell me lies about Iraq.

I smell something burning, hope it's just my brains
They're only dropping peppermints and daisy chains
So stuff my nose with garlic
Coat my eyes with butter
Fill my ears with silver
Stick my legs in plaster
Tell me lies about Iraq.

Where were you at the time of the crime?
Down by the Cenotaph drinking slime
So chain my tongue with whisky
Stuff my nose with garlic
Coat my eyes with butter
Fill my ears with silver
Stick my legs in plaster
Tell me lies about Iraq.

You put your bombers in, you put your conscience out
You take the human being and you twist it all about
So scrub my skin with women
Chain my tongue with whisky
Stuff my nose with garlic
Coat my eyes with butter
Fill my ears with silver
Stick my legs in plaster
Tell me lies about Iraq.(*)
Adrian Mitchell

(*) Originally 'Vietnam'. Adrian Mitchell read his poem replacing 'Vietnam' with 'Iraq' when he gave a rendition at the mass anti-war rally in Hyde Park on 15 February. Introducing the poem he said, 'If Tony Blair tells Britain to go to war, don't go. Don't go to work, don't go to school, don't go to college, don't go to your ship or your regiment. Take to the streets.'


How shall we defeat the enemy?
We shall defeat the enemy
by making alliances.
Who shall we make alliances with?
With people in whose interests it is
to be enemies with the enemy.
How shall we win an alliance with
these people?
We shall win an alliance with these
people by giving them money and
arms.
And after that?
They'll help us defeat the enemy.
Has the enemy got money and
arms?
Yes.
How did the enemy get money and
arms?
He was once someone in whose
interests it was to be enemies with
our enemy.
Which enemy was this?
Someone in whose interests it had
once been to be enemies with our
enemy.
Michael Rosen


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Sat 1 Mar 2003, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1840
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