Peter Branson



Blatant of cleavage, belly, sleek soft thigh,
unwittingly full blast, young girls broadcast
‘available’. We’re cool with that yet don’t
like cover ups. Well under five per cent
wear burkas anyway. Why not men too?
You didn’t find the nuns who hounded you
through primary school bizarre, except, sky-high
on chastity, that cold sadistic look.

No need to fret about make up or hair.
Recall headscarf and rollers worn to work?
More subtle too: by wanton wind divined,
exotic lingerie, underexposed,
kissing that cool silk skin. Can’t see their eyes:
should we trust sculpted looks or what’s inside?

Enduring Freedom
August 2009

Three children playing with a shell were blown
to bits in Helmand Province yesterday.

Back home three others mourn a father’s death.
Murder of innocence!” the headline shouts.
Where is he now?” one asks. “In heaven, love,
they say. “With freedom there’s a price to pay.
Everything’s relative, God only knows.
Will it bear fruit, this cross of sacrifice?

The town is quietened while the piper plays
Amazing Grace. Along High Street, folk pause,
watch loved ones toss red roses at the hearse,
turn back into their lives. Graveside, Last Post
is sounding, drowns in silence at flood tide.
Six riflemen fire blanks. There’s no reply.

Peter Branson lives in Rode Heath, a village in South Cheshire, England. A former teacher and lecturer, he now organises writing workshops. Until recently he was Writer-in-residence for “All Write” run by Stoke-on-Trent Libraries. Over the last four years he has had work published, or accepted for publication, by many mainstream poetry journals in Britain, including Acumen, Ambit, Envoi, Magma, The London Magazine, Iota, 14, Fire, The Interpreter’s House, Poetry Nottingham, Pulsar, Red Ink, the Recusant and Other Poetry. He has also had poems published in USA, Canada, EIRE, Australia and New Zealand. In the last two years he has had success in poetry competitions including, more recently, a first prize in The Envoi International, a second place in The Writing Magazine Open and highly-commendeds in The Petra Kenney and The Speakeasy. His first collection, “The Accidental Tourist”, was published in May 2008. He is about to have an E book published by ‘The Recusant’.

(author retains copyright)