Poem: Breakfast in the Safety of a War-Zone

The radio crackles into life beneath my clumsy early morning thumb,

bringing the latest from a basement under siege.

As the kettle boils a plume of smoke rises in the distance,

followed seconds later by the dull thud of the landing shell.

The loose dry leaves cascade like shrapnel into the pre-warmed pot.

The clatter of machine-guns punctuates my stirring of the brew.

I reach the fridge door just in time

as a jet swoops fast and furious,

retrieving the milk bottle while a kindly grandma explains

the best recipe for a successful cocktail – petrol, rags and cooking oil.

On the stove the surface of the porridge pan erupts

as exploding cluster bombs pock-mark the city streets.

Slavic voices fully convey in words I do not ken

the anguish of the hour

as I spoon sweet honey into my steaming bowl of oats.

I check my e-mails while a doctor checks a wounded fighter’s pulse.

A child screams as I pour myself a glass of juice.

Zelensky pops up with another impromptu speech,

while more exhausted exiles clog his nation’s roads.

I go to wash, to dress and clean my teeth. I say my prayers.

Another day dawns on the frontline of our hearts.

Text may be reproduced with the following acknowledgement:

© Rob Esdaile, 2022. Reproduced from A Word In Edgeways – A Few More Verses, published by Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Thames Ditton, Surrey KT7 0LP. Copies available for £7 inc. p&p. e: office@olchurch.org.uk; t: 020 8398 6127. All proceeds go to Cafod/DEC Ukraine Appeal.

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