Poetry Journal

Issues / Volume 5 Issue 1 , July 2015


Boat Song

Fay Zwicky

  Speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing,
  ‘Onward’, the seekers cry;
  Speed, you will not, but sink like a stone
  Down on the seabed lie.
  We once had a country’, the desperate cry
  ‘Now we’re officially dead’.
  The Ministers grin, ‘You cannot come in.
  You’d consume all our daily bread’.
  The debris of massacres, blitzkriegs and bombings,
  Putsches and pogroms, war’s goings and comings.
  Tyres are for burning and cobbles for throwing,
  Army surplus for wearing and weeds fit for mowing.
  Lie in military tents with fear gripping breath,
  Forget that you’re living, expecting a death.
  Remote ideologies send bonnie boats
  Like broken-winged birds to our merciful votes.
  And we turned them away, yes we turned them away
  As we went out to play
  In our dead-hearted country, the bounteous place
  Where neighbourly love puts a smile on each face.
  As we golf and we gamble, eat, make love, and die,
  Raise shrines to our roadkill, release a brief sigh—
  Only heaven knows why—and for hours upon hours
  We bring photos and candles and 
  Mountains of flowers upon flowers upon
  Flowers upon flowers.