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Wire in war takes on shades of brutality.

That which in peace will build a fence or mend a tool, in war becomes a weapon.

Yet it is just wire.

With intent to pull flesh from human skin and harm the soul within.

See this wire, tangled and barbed, heavy with inert threat.

Sharp, cold metal provokes and warns

Come not here!

Distant smoke, cordite drifting landward,

White of eyes and grey of gunpowder, grey of gunmetal, grey of ruined flesh.

No men, no laughter, no whisper.

Dirty, ash-flecked wind whips and whistles through your hair, thuds against your skin…

…rattles barbed-wire like old bones tumbling.

Warships on the horizon – blank-eyed, steely warriors squinting at the shore.

Steel grey.

Mud brown.

Heartless black.

Smoke white.

And yet..

Tangled in the blackest wire, clumped with sea-tossed scorn,

Canary yellow and cherry red like the promise of a Summer afternoon,

The drifted boat, tilted and beached upon the wire.

Tossed away, tossed out of the greyest sea.

There, amidst the shuffle-skidding pebbles,

Beside the shushing grey waves and speckled foam,

There, enshrined in seaweed and salt and captured in a barbed embrace,

An empty boat,

Grasping wire

And no man alive to see

Or wonder

Where did the rower go?

Inspired by ‘Drift Boat’, Eric Ravilious (1941) and ‘The Wire Fence’, Eric Ravilious (1935).. from innocent to deadly, Ravilious’ change in perception as he is engulfed in war. Even wire becomes brutal. 

For all those missing in action. 

Biography: Annalie Seaman, mother, archaeologist, writer and curious soul. 

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