Bring out the dead

let’s bring out the dead
the defeated
the destitute
the isolated mind

our bodies scarred
memorial on the high street
medals for the survivors
parties for the kind ones
no dancing by eros
we endured

knightly collusion
politicians begone
in the shadow of the slaughter

we had it within us
court friends knew better
call centre illusions
our best chance
oxbridge sage
modelling murder
follow the money
eat out to help out
double or quits

bloated self-confidence
free trade in virus
haig‘s walk-over 
no-man’s land
herding the old
graves to cry by
r numbered 
bullingdon barbarism

we knew by summer
winter would come
indi_sage zoomed out
zero the virus 

mum’s phone for two plus two
frightened to play childhood 
the rich relax
the powers protect
pox on your spare bedrooms
your lofty ceilings
sourdough smugness
bring out the dead

spurt of growth 
vaccine forgiveness
all forgotten
learn the pandemic
bring out the dead

our leader rides high
mussolini by his feet
bonfire the masks
politicians on top
of rolling heads
crucify conceit
bring out the dead

eruptions of anger at our children’s stunting
renew with love
rage contained

let’s flatten the curve of the footsie one hundred
lockdown the bentley
take their front room

scream at the sky
madness
we do it with love
look the sun in the face
the heat of the heart
look death in the face
and give it new life

breath deep
smell your friend
passionate kiss for the lonely
the frightened
the mad
smile on your smile
two metres of touching
the colour of love

reach out to the victims
of torment at home
batter on batter
you made me do
hear the pain
of privatised violence
name the deed
heal the wound

payback cayman islands
they tell us now
our stocks are high
your hopes low
defeated

long
poem
long
lives
lost

death haunts the land
fear for what’s next

refuse the future they have for us
bring out the dead

our genius create
pfizer be damned
the meekest show too
beauty unbound
learn from the children
let life break through

roll up our sleeves
it’s our time now
we see kindness abound
bring out the dead

let’s house the homeless
rip the damp songs
for the frightened
care for the old
talk of the past
repair the swings
work with dignity
laugh with laugh
colour by day
love by night

let’s build a country worthy of the dead
let’s make it a country

a joyful period
of warm hearts 
and bright living rooms
of peace for the overworked
the exhausted mother
three jobs juggling
sauna and sleep
debts denied

the pandemic will pass
the shadow grey
let’s paint it red
and blue and green

but bring the dead too
to bury in our hearts

Paul O’Brien

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