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Under The Dragon's Eye - Bryan Murphy

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Under the Dragon's Eye

No stench of death emanates
from these mass graves.
Beyond rusting barbed wire,
prosperous lowland stirs memories
of the Vale of Kent.

Do our apple orchards likewise
cover blood-drenched secrets?
In this tranquil longan* grove,
the secret is out.

I wonder at the tranquillity,
overlooking shallow hollows
where men, women, children
were bludgeoned, hacked, sawn
to death, few lucky ones shot.

Behind me, their fractured skulls
gather cobwebs on shelves
that perspective renders countless.
Below the serried crania,

a heap of clothes,
blue and black mostly;
occasional patches of pattern, colour,
embody girlish ambition
too pure to tolerate.

Murder tools surround them:
hammers, saws, iron rods.
We did this barely 20 years ago.

Now, a water pump chugs calmly,
oxen graze, children laugh
and comfort our belief in progress,
our disbelief in hell.


* Note: longan is a small, tree-borne tropical fruit, known in English by its Chinese name, which translates literally as "dragon eye". The place is Cheung Ek, Cambodia.



Bryan Murphy (Italy) has published more poems at this site: Tangorino and Out of Season.


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