Poetry: Anthony Wade

Anthony Wade
There Will Be Judgment

Light snow falling upon a plantation of flags,
two hundred thousand Old Glories
flapping in place of the missing idolisers,
like a windswept Field of the Fallen.

A line of yesterday's mighty stand behind
a grey-haired white man with a younger
black-asian woman close beside him,
only a breathe away from his Office.

Shadowing the calm words of unity
and promise spoken into this empty space 
swirl disturbing images of recent days
sharp behind the eyes of every absent spectator,

of a white man's arm angrily brandishing
a military-grade automatic weapon, and
of a black man’s fist defiantly raised aloft
raging against perceived decades of neglect.

Is a fresh Spring rising here
with hope for a disaffected nation,
or is in the bitterness
a dying Winter waiting?
***

The Welcome

Every stream struggles
in its search for a sea
to make its home
and this stream
that rose in the south
had to snake a long line,
a fluctuating flow of children,
grandparents, nursing mothers,
the sick and the lame,
and like thistledown
on an erratic summer breeze
a scatter of orphans
indifferently seeded
along its course,
before damming up against
the survivors of earlier migrations
insisting like traffic cops,
‘no stopping beyond this line’,
forced to wait until at last
a permitted first small trickle inwards
welled up a flood of hope
in those to follow, and
was strongly applauded by some
but still by many never wanted,
for many never belonging,
and should the trickle become a flood
will the welcome rise
or be drowned in hate?
***

Signs Point Away
(seen at the Jewish Museum, Berlin)

Collected in an easily overlooked corner are
starkly scripted metal signs, black on white,
supremacist signs hatefully proclaiming that
some are not wanted ‘here’, mirroring
the then politically correct store signs
that told othered persons they would not
‘here’ be served, a callous cruelty
that elsewhere simply stated "No Irish”
in lodging house windows in England, and 
"No blacks" everywhere in South Africa,
while in God-fearing and upstanding
Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and more,
"Negroes" were told of their biblical station in life,
and in Ulster a politician publicly proclaimed that
“No Catholic pig or his litter will get a house here”.

Now in our midst differences are highlighted
and often condemned, and signs in words and images
appear that bellow the banality of difference,
locking one ‘us’ together against another ‘them’,
but in the heat of struggle wisdom must remember
that when freedom to be different
becomes a political fiction
there is no assurance even in a democracy
that a monster will not be spawned
that will in turn eat its children,
in witness the Wannsee Conference
where only a lifetime ago in Berlin
the best bureaucratic minds gathered
to mind and measure meticulously
the modalities of mass murder.
***

Bio: Anthony Wade, a Forward Prize nominee, has published in poetry magazines in England, Ireland, Scotland, and as far afield as India and the USA (including Setu Bilingual), both in print and online. Irish, he lives by the sea in East Cork and is an active member of Midleton Writers’ Group. twitter.com@anthonywadepoet.

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