A poem for war

LONDON, April 3 - Britain's official poet has taken the highly unusual step of writing a poem condemning the war in Iraq. Andrew Motion said that from Eden to Babylon, death was cutting a swathe through one of the cradles of civilization.

"Advancing down the road from Nineveh

Death paused a while and said, Now listen here

You see the names of places round about

They are mine now and I have turned them inside out.

Take Eden further South

At dawn today I ordered up my troops to tear away

its walls and gates so everyone can see that gorgeous

fruit which dangles from its tree.

You want it don't you? Go and eat it then and lick your

lips and pick the same again.

Take Tigris and Euphrates.

Once they ran through childhood-colored slabs of sand and

sun. Not any more they don't. I have filled them up with

countless different kinds of human crap.

Take Babylon

The palace sprouting flowers which sweetened empires in

their peaceful hours.

I have found a different way to scent the air. Already it's

a by-word for despair.

Which leaves Baghdad, the star-tipped minarets, the marble

courts and halls, the mirage heat.

These places and the ancient things you know you won't know

soon. I am working on it now."
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