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by John Grey


When one brother fell down from hunger,    

the other brother raised his hand against his country.

It was a foul mood all round.


The poorest became the most insolent.

The laugh was tethered to the sneer.

All the government knew to do was march.


When one brother exited through the fruitless earth,

the other brother made the sky his target.

Sun gleamed from the helmet tops of the parading soldiers.


Coffins are the very root of most philosophies.

Can’t bring the dead back so why waste time at gravesites.

Why even weep for them when you can write a manifesto.


When one brother, whose name is forgotten, died,

the other brother stitched a flag together,

stole a rifle, assassinated a prince.


If the country was a mother,

then one son was beaten by her to death,

the other struck her down in fiercest matricide.


A gold-robed king touts his empty pockets.

And what makes a country poorer?

Its contempt or its trembling?



An Australian born poet, John Grey works as a financial systems analyst. Recently he has been published in Poem, Caveat Lector, Prism International and has work upcoming in Big Muddy, Prism International and Writer’s Journal.

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