15 February, 2003

That February Saturday, you just eleven
and fire enough inside you to stop history.
Fire enough inside to last the journey,
the broken train, the biting wind.
What if they had listened?

They should have heard you. At Green Park
we found a wall, tight as a pigeon’s perch,
and scanned the crowds. One million people:
this is how to rage, I told you, when the placards
said Make Tea Not War.

If a million people march someone will listen.
I don’t know who said that now: a lesson
you disproved too young. After that, you fought
too many battles on your own, got bruised
too many times.

If a million people laugh someone might listen.
I’d like to think it true: one day we’ll laugh
until the ground shakes, laugh until foundations
crumble, laugh till every rotten branch
snaps from the tree.

We haven’t laughed enough. We need to laugh
like blizzards, laugh like floods, laugh
like desert heat. We need to board that train,
stand at their gates. We need to find our friends
again, link hands, laugh them to dust.

 

This poem also appeared in The Stare’s Nest, March 2015