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Three poems on peace and war

Poems by Adrian Mitchell

July 30, 2008
2 min read


Adrian Mitchell was Red Pepper's 'shadow poet laureate'.


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To all in the so-called defence industry

Arms trade workers, here’s an early warning

You might wake up tomorrow morning

And find that this is the glorious day

When all your jobs will just melt away

Because the people of the world are going to make sure

There’ll be no more, no more, no more war

So now’s the time to switch your occupation

From dealing in death and desolation

Don’t hang around now you’ve been told

The international murder trade’s about to fold

You won’t have to maim, you won’t have to kill,

You can use your brain and use your skill.

Peace needs workers of all kinds-

Make artificial limbs instead of landmines.

Tricycles instead of tridents,

Violins instead of violence,

Lifeboats, hospitals, medicine, drains,

Food and toys and buses and trains-

Come on, there’s plenty of work to be done

If we’re going to make peace for everyone.

_

_

Peacetime Haiku

Try one hundred years

Without any wars at all –

Let’s see if it works!

_

_

Slavery and War

The planet earth in 1787 AD

More than three-quarters of its people

Were in bondage of some kind,

Including serfdom and slavery,

80.000 Africans were chain and fettered

and taken to the new world every year.

There was no anti-slavery campaign.

On May 22nd 1787

Twelve men met in London printing shop.

The campaign against slavery began.

There were slaves and free activists,

Quakers, atheists,

And men, women and children

Who loved freedom.

They were mocked as wild, impractical dreamers.

They had no e-mails or TV,

No radio or telephones,

But they found ways of showing the world

The obscenity of slavery.

So they abolished

First the international slave trade

And then slavery itself.

It was hard work.

It took them about fifty years.

Only fifty years.

Today we can use e-mail and TV, Radio and telephones.

We can abolish

First the international arms trade

And then war itself.

It’ll be hard work.

Might take as long as twenty years.

Adrian Mitchell, September 2005

(Written after reading Bury the Chains – The British struggle to abolish slavery by Adam Hochschild. Macmillan: £20)

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Adrian Mitchell was Red Pepper's 'shadow poet laureate'.


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