Archives for posts with tag: shell
Starr 031007-0039 Danger - Unexploded Ordnance - Restricted Area - sign

Forest & Kim Starr [CC-BY-3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

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.

In truth, I have also been browsing through the poetry journal Agenda’s Requiem: The Great War edition. Perhaps this and the general culture of WWI commemoration have entered my sub-conscious.

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.)

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
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In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012

Zoological Illustrations Volume III Plate 120.jpg

Its last pulse was the echo
of an interior draught.
Some time ago the sluggish monopod
had taken its leave.
Beached on the concrete path
the brown shell has no way of putting itself
at safety.
The unseeing crunch
the barren passageways

The above poem is about an abandoned snail shell like the ones might find in a suburban garden. The poem uses a cryptic sequence to unveil a scene, which reminds me of 118A Creighton Avenue, a poem which dates from a few years back.

I’ll leave it up to you to transpose your own metaphorical loading onto the scene, i.e. if you wish to read something analogous and ‘deep’ into the sequence by all means. If not, that’s okay, too.

I’ve posted recently  about other garden creatures in “The Visit” (a short story) and “Do Not Slight the Earthworm” (another poem).

If you’ve enjoyed reading my poems, please have a look at my books available via Blurb:
In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012

I also tweet my observations about the minutiae of life as @BeadedQuill.
And BeadedQuill is on Facebook.

Illustration courtesy of “Zoological Illustrations Volume III Plate 120” by William Swainson, F.R.S., F.L.S. – Zoological Illustrations, Volume III.. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.