November punched its winds at us.
Blind, we raked remembrance
and glory. Blind grot from combat
now in books
is still our iron harvest.
Two sources were the inspiration for this poem. A friend’s Facebook status about the discovery of an unexploded shell in his local Swedish neighbourhood prompted me to look up a little about these doodads.
UXO (unexploded ordnance) is the acronym used for munitions that did not explode at the time they were employed and are still pose a threat when discovered at a later date. The UXO’s are also identified as ‘blind’. The ‘iron harvest’ is the colloquial term used for the residue shells unearthed by French and Flemish farmers in the erstwhile battlefields of WWI.
I have also been thinking about how our human experiences, both individual and collective, can sometimes take years to surface or reach a conclusion.
However, there it was not my intention to produce a WWI or a war commentary poem. I merely wanted a poem. As with all my poems, hopefully it could travel to any time or place where humans leave their trail.
(It is also an irony that in isiXhosa, uxolo means peace.)
In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012