So willingly ours

See the dawn’s
early light 
on slate-sky borrowed 
from a fractured night

Broader stripes
brighter stars
this perilous fight
so willingly ours

And the brave
came in throngs
and talked of rockets
and of silent bombs

In the pale
poisoned air
the breeze that concealed
our flag was still there

And the free
starved of breath
struck up the gallows
and clamoured for death   

Here we stand
tribute sworn
hate is a hunger
so furtively torn


Monsters are drawn so easily in burnt embers and the taste of ruin. And is this what it is to be human? A bag full of nothing but noughts and crosses? Philosophies of ghost-glass searching for that one last game of cyclic snap? Glory chained? Beauty crushed?  Alliance written Dickensian in the fear of folding?

And so the golden haired sons became monsters. Not because they were inherently evil, but because they had taken that one first step beyond the threshold of their battered conscience.

Stand silent. Scuff out cohesion in tempests of contrition. Words we have inked, stories we have scraped raw into weeping flesh. Crime told. Guilt carved. Memories drawn in rusted nails and forgotten gallows. Them. Us. Us. Them. Allegories and flags torn down, sunk with the catastrophe of truth. And future fold and future fable entropy in perpetual sandcastles. Stand silent! Stand silent! The behemoths cry. Dress defeat in the colours of ignorance. Roll out the canons. And call victory.


©2017 Jac Forsyth

Please hold the line…

Please hold the line while we try to connect you.

Another untaken flesh floats with the seaweed, tidal through this silent night. Eyeless ghouls moan their pleasure, rebellious at the scraps. And we who are wolves, wait silent. Our throats too narrow, too bloodied with echoed howling, to eat from this master’s banquet.

Please hold the line while we try.

Another silenced footstep. Another silenced cry. Another silenced breath. Where are the drums in this melody of marching? Where is the tail in this stinging tale? Where is the straight in this twisting? Build another book out of burned pages. Build another truth out of lies. Fear. Hate. Erase. Forget. Repeat.

Please hold the line.

Another sullied standard unfurls, raised virgin on the ramparts of this lost kingdom. The bloodied bones of enemy, chalked out, rubbed out. One more blueprint of arrogance. One more brick of separation mortared. One more howl on the wind. And we who are wolves, wait silent. Beaten to mongrel by this empire of ogres.

Please hold.


Lost in scarecrow shadows

On that last day the sky had been laid out so sweet and soft with autumn cloud that even the flickers of a distant lightning storm could not disturb their happiness. They had gathered apples and cleaned the presses, pulling water from the lake and swaddling themselves in routine. Even the old men spoke lightly, laughing that something as grand as war would not waste its time visiting their little village.

But their words were built on quicksand and even as they sang merrily to their beds, a strange, picture show light came raking over the ground of their rhetoric. And with it came a dark regiment of scarecrow shadows, sliding their long fingers through keyholes, under doors, feeling out the gaps and measuring up the spaces of entry. The silence of their coming was concealed beneath a golden footfall of leaves and lost in the gentle the stirrings of night, and so they moved among the sleepers unnoticed, curling lines of black powder around their half formed dreams, laying out the first strips of paper, striking the first match. Building a pyre to stoke the bonfire of future memory.

There were no birds to herald the misplaced dawn. It burst upon the village unannounced, dragging the people from their slumber, hurdling them confused and drunk with fear under an absent moon. They saw for the first time how light came dripping from the sky and how the earth rose to meet it in a horizon of fire. And they knew then that everything that had gone before was lost.

There was no sun to mark the coming of that first day, and the people of that small village that war would not waste its time with, were the last to know.