Impact by Bernadette Howley

Minutes after impact
they are lifting broken bodies
from the rubble.

Dead or alive
they will be accounted for,
cared for, wept for,
prayed for.

Grey air chokes and coats
the throats of the rescued,
the rescuers
and those who mourn.

Helicopters return,
chop the air
and chuck their barrel bombs
at new targets.

And the helmets
track the action,

start over.

In Westminster,
in council chambers up and down the land,
and in the Mairie , Calais,
the corridors are choked, too.

Crowbars won’t shift this dross.
They get jammed and bent,
then abandoned
and abandonment becomes
the solution…

… and children stay lost
in the ruins
of kafka-esque rhetoric.


The Quiet Ones by Bernadette Howley

We are whispers
red with a loss
that soaks the soil
of the poor lands,
the ones that fail
to serve.

So we stay as whispers
that  straggle,
struggle to reach
cocked ears
of the conscientious
and we wait,
for them to