A Poem to mark the birthday of Christopher Hampton

SOMETHING HAS TO BE DONE

After hearing of yet another Israeli attack on Palestinian towns – Nablus, Ramallah, Bethlehem.

‘Something has to be done’.
That much we know.
The world won’t wait
while sitting over late
coffee we prevaricate.
‘Something has to be done’.

Even to reiterate
suggests a kind of desperate
Cassandra-voice.
For if the world won’t wait,
how can we let it go
while the hate-seeds grow,
driving us down pathways
into a dead-end dark
where the claustrophobia
of closing doors breeds panic,
and the voices that would speak
alternatives are silenced?

– Christopher Hampton, 2003.

To be published in ‘What Remains: New and Selected Poems’ September 2013