Jericho
Tuesday, 28 May 2024 22:54

Jericho

Published in Poetry

Jericho

by Pete Godfrey

On a scraggy patch of land we stake our claim -
this country’s ours, not terrain of the owners -
and string up banners, raise placards that name
a wrong so grievous it has shown us

that the courts of justice are courts of disgrace
with judges so corrupt they take their cue
from whispered briefings designed to erase
all sense of fairness - take a bow, yes you,

Emma Arbuthnot, Vanessa Baraitser,
bewigged and wooden, reeling off your lines,
automatons, the bosses’ howitzer
without a flicker of what’s warm or kind

for the man, distressed, who’s in the dock,
ten times superior to you, fighter for peace
who dared reveal just how the trigger’s cocked
to take out inconvenient souls as they may please -

those troops in thrall to Washington’s command
who’ve trashed Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq,
caused conflagrations, massacres - Assange
alone has cast a light on that:

how in the Middle East (and elsewhere) lives
have been deemed worthless, mere impediments
to looting land, oil, treasure, and the cries
of those who wish to blossom meet indifference

which is why we’re here, Julian, outside the walls,
concrete and drab, that hold you in
and try to imprison the ideas that call
out to humanity, look beneath the skin

of warmongers whose murderous strategy
lies grotesque and exposed, arrayed in blood.
The lights turn red - we leaflet, dash to see
if motorists will share in our disgust

at the outrage perpetrated yards from where they pass.
They sound their horns; the criminals’ names we shout -
Blair, Cameron, Patel and Johnson for a start.
And look: the walls are cardboard - push them now!