Letter: Scribbling while Sarajevo burns

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The Independent Online
Sir: On the Independent publishing poems by British poets about Bosnia:

The soldier sleeping in the yard

Is easily caught off his guard

And when he wakes he'll think it hard

To lose a limb,

He'll need the caring British bard

To walk for him.

The widow hiding in the shed

May well be hardened to her dread

She draws her scarf about her head

But fears to stir,

She needs a poet who's well read

To speak for her.

The children starving in the street

Need little more to drink or eat,

They pit-a-pat on naked feet

Into a rhyme.

The British poem is discreet

Most of the time.

The charred corpse in the blackened hall,

The foul deserted hospital,

The skulls and scapulae, the wall

Streaked red and brown,

Needs British poets, one and all,

To write them down.

This stanza that I've nicked from Burns,

I throw at you, with no returns,

Dear Editor: each 'poem' earns

A Bosnian brick.

Read poems while Sarajevo burns?

It makes me sick.

Yours faithfully,

GEORGE SZIRTES

Hitchin, Hertfordshire

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