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Bill Adair Sep 2020
And the countries called,
Seductive heroism,
And the young men came.

And their mothers sang
Songs of woe, Lieder von Leid.
And the young men served.

And the people wept,
Tears a universal tongue,
As the young men died.
This poem was first used a few years ago at a Remembrance Sunday Service.
Bill Adair Aug 2020
Black lives don’t matter.
At least not anymore than
Anyone elses.

All life is sacred.
Life is holy whatever
Your faith or colour.
Bill Adair Aug 2020
Even though they were smaller than me
They made me feel very afraid
As they roamed the playground together,
With the smell of over-boiled cabbage and nicotine
Clinging to their clothes and hair,
Their small, hard hands and *****, sharp finger nails
Grabbing at the lapels of your blazer.

They had white dinner tickets for free school meals.
Our tickets were blue and cost a shilling.
They sat, bunched together, in the middle of row four,
And if you were moved to sit beside them,
Your friends pointed at you and laughed,
Like when you had just had your haircut,
Or you wore glasses for the first time.

Their uniforms were ragged, hand-knitted jumpers
And wellingtons, even in the summer.
When you had sweets they would corner you in the playground,
Demanding their tribute share.
And you always handed over the best of your sweets, because,
Even though they were smaller than me,
They made me feel very afraid.
Bill Adair Aug 2020
On your way to church,
See God dressed in beggar’s clothes.
Stop and say hello.
Bill Adair Aug 2020
On your Sabbath day,
Sing and pray and praise your God,
Leave religion out.
Bill Adair Aug 2020
Up on the old high road
That led to my grandmother’s house,
Uncertainly I rode my new bike,
Held up by my father, teaching me to fly.
Then suddenly he was beside me,
“I’m not holding you anymore,” he said.
“You’re flying on your own.”

A year later we drove,
Once more to my grandmother’s house
Where he, quietly and without fuss,
Lay down on her old iron bed-stead and died,
He couldn’t hold me up any more.
“I have to go to sleep now, son,” he said.
“You’re flying on your own.”
From "Learning to Fly" (2017)
Learning To Fly © Bill Adair 2016
Bill Adair Aug 2020
The stately tree falls
To the woodcutter’s axe
And all nature mourns.

From death comes new life.
A perfect shape emerges
From the plain, gnarled wood.

In his skilful hands
The carpenter produces
A thing of beauty.

But all things must pass.
Crushed wood re-born as paper.

The woodcutter dies
And rests in the tree re-made.
Seeking forgiveness?

He enters the earth.
The soft forest floor opens
And bids him welcome.

An oak marks his place.
Its roots at one with his bones.
The slow turn of life.

And beneath the soil
His decomposing body
Gives the young tree life.
From "Learning to Fly"
Recycled © Bill Adair 2015
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