Keen to eat – a poem by Stephen Kingsnorth

Keen to eat

(Reflecting on Painting: Talitha Kum)

It is the keening I notice,
news cameras eager to record;
though propaganda can call zealots
when scoped drones are on the loose.

Grief is heartfelt naturally –
the west alone not knowing loss –
despite embassy commentaries
or as heard generals observe.
Timed slot cabled to comfort
seeks simple judgement, poorly served.

Yet professional wailing,
crooning women and men, both,
priests following rubrics
told when to beat their breasts,
Hearts bled to correct formula
sharp-cold paid-for keening crowds,
contracted funeral musicians,
are confusions quick dismissed
in the enlightened sleeping room.

Loud crying easily translates
to put-out laughter scorn.
In synoptics’ column piece –
maybe subtle first lunar case –
sleeping, handed little girl
walks secretly, is fed.

Babbling ivory overlook
denies compassion’s way,
and leads to bleeding from the skull,
this old reality.


Stephen Kingsnorth (Cambridge M.A., English & Religious Studies), retired to Wales from Methodist Church ministry, has had pieces accepted by Nine Muses Poetry; Voices Poetry; Eunoia Review; Runcible Spoon; Ink Sweat and Tears; The Poetry Village; From the Edge; Gold Dust, The Seventh Quarry & Allegro Poetry Magazines.

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