The Road

by | Jan 5, 2020

The road is filled with burning wood

people leaving, are told they should

grab some clothes and hit the road

hear the windows behind explode

strangers help with rattled tins

while others who will put out the bins

and stare ahead with Thoreau glances

resolve to fight, and take their chances


On the outskirts of the town

bottles filled, lines are down

while soporific, prattling fools

shout at us from atop their stools

trucks are rumbling up the hill

as warbling birds begin their shrill

marbled halls begin to shake

and argue over what’s at stake


Horses gallop at the sun

knowing that their race is run

the kangaroo who jumps the fence

suffocates in the smoking dense

koalas feet are singed to bone

sit and stare, confused, alone

sheep and cattle, scorched and dead

or mercy’s end, shot through the head


The sirens sound, smash through gates

to whatever hell they know awaits

the melting steel and alloy seeps

the mother of a missing child who weeps

who has no clothes, or place to rest

but has a story, she can attest

to the flames that ripped and scarred the earth

and questioned what the pain is worth


As heads are counted in consulting maps

hands are raised to point out traps

while embers pulse, in slumbered flight

beneath the feet trudged through the night

the wind that threatens, from the south

breath reaching shallow, dust in mouth

and catch the sleep they dare not embrace

and screw their courage to the sticking place


And fear, in its so-called primal scream

transmogrified to another dream

to stand by and watch the savage breeze

to not bring those who stand unto their knees.

It’s quiet on the road, as uniforms wait

to quell the fire in its frenzied state

the choking, quelling breathing fumes

transposes days in lyric tunes


And birds, felled by burning flailing wings

swept away by fire’s grande opera that whistles, sings

silent, the birds wash up in easy reach

as tourists huddle on the beach

the fire it snarls, and then it yields

but not before it strips the fields

for the owners, who return to find

the irony in their peace of mind


The irony, the empty tank

as subversives talk of breaking rank

and access to the roads is blocked

where no-one is surprised, outraged or shocked

His Master’s Voice proclaims the thoughts

and disappears within his Courts

while water arrives from overhead

and rains on the living and the dead


While beneath the helmets, the weathered beats

exhausted, the weary, slump in their seats

there is food enough to go around

no one talks or makes a sound

While leaders hide or smile through grins

and reflect a while on subverted sins

and remind us of what we all hold sacred

appear before us, standing naked.

© copyright – Stephen Newman 2020