Peace Treaty

Detachments land, destined for cannon fodder,
Conscripts to defend the king,
Marshalled along fields that will be their graves,
Hobnailed and booted in the trenches
Behind circles of barbed wire, facing the enemy
Advancing under the staccato of gunfire,
Fighting for rights in the theatre of battle,
Until ceasefire, armistice and peace are signed
And celebrated with the leftovers of war
Until promises are broken again.

Delegations touch down - red-carpeted diplomats,
Representing the people
Hurried through the fast-moving queue of privilege,
Well-heeled on the thick pile of the chamber,
Seated alphabetically in semicircles of debate
Moving the agenda forward,
Seeking consensus in the uniting arena,
Moving to universal endorsement,
Celebrated with coffee and croissants
Expecting them to keep their word.

August 2015
After attending a Universal Periodic Review at the United Nations, Geneva,
remembering the start of the First World War.