The War Poets

© By Michael Longley

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Unmarked were the bodies of the soldier-poets
For shrapnel opened up again the fontanel
Like a hailstone melting towards deep water
At the bottom of a well, or a mosquito
Balancing its tiny shadow above the lip.

It was rushes of air that took the breath away
As though curtains were drawn suddenly aside
And darkness streamed into the dormitory
Where everybody talked about the war ending
And always it would be the last week of the war.

Poem included with the permission of Michael Longley and his publisher Jonathan Cape

Michael Longley is perhaps here dealing with a sense felt in the late 1970s, when he wrote the poem, that the Troubles would never end.

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