The Wound In Time

It is the wound in Time. The century’s tides,
chanting their bitter psalms, cannot heal it.
Not the war to end all wars; death’s birthing place;
the earth nursing its ticking metal eggs, hatching
new carnage. But how could you know, brave
as belief as you boarded the boats, singing?
The end of God in the poisonous, shrapneled air.
Poetry gargling its own blood. We sense it was love
you gave your world for; the town squares silent,
awaiting their cenotaphs. What happened next?
War. And after that? War. And now? War. War.
History might as well be water, chastising this shore;
for we learn nothing from your endless sacrifice.
Your faces drowning in the pages of the sea.

Carol Ann Duffy, 2018

 

AN LEÒN AN TÌM

’S e ’n leòn an Tìm a th’ ann. Fad linne, cha shlànaich
an làn le shalmadaireachd sheirbh e. Chan e an cogadh
gus crìoch a chur air cogadh ach àite-breith a’ bhàis; uighean
meatailt a’ diogadh, gan altram aig an talamh, a’ chasgairt
ga gur às ùr. Ach ciamar a bhiodh fios agaibhse, gu calma
a’ seinn mar chreideamh, a’ dol air bòrd nam bàtaichean?
Crìoch air Dia san àile phuinnseanach làn sgolban.
Bàrdachd ga tachdadh na fuil fhèin. Fairichidh sinn gum b’ e
an gaol dhan tug sibh ur beatha; ceàrnagan nam bailtean nan tost,
a’ feitheamh rin carraighean-cuimhne. Dè thachair an uair sin?
Cogadh. Is an dèidh sin? Cogadh. Is dè a-nis? Cogadh. Cogadh.
Dh’fhaodadh eachdraidh a bhith na sàl a’ bualadh a’ chladaich
oir chan ionnsaich sinn càil às ur n-ìobairt gun sgur,
is ur n-aodannan a’ dol fodha eadar duilleagan na mara.

Carol Ann Duffy, 2018

Become a National Theatre of Scotland insider by signing up to our emails