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I was incensed when I heard Carol Ann Duffy and some other poets had written Iraq "War Poems".
They had appeared in the Guardian Newspaper in July 2009.
But it was only during a weekend trip to Paris a year later that I was able to articulate why it annoyed me so much.

Not Wilfred Owen

Screen_shot_2017-12-05_at_08.50.24by Patrick Howse09 Jun 2014

In a Parisian building
That might be a sports centre,
There’s what purports to be
Brancusi’s studio.

Someone has chosen
Which objects to show,
And neatly arranged them;
They look like they’re dusted every morning.

Told to behave, everything
Seems to be here:
The shapes in plaster,
The inspiring driftwood discoveries;

But it’s edited, selected,
And presented to us -
This is a committee’s view
Of the atelier, not the real thing.

Once poets crouched in trenches,
Winced at shell-bursts, and
Watched men’s faces
As they died in agony,

Devils sick of sin.
Now they watch television,
Electronically stimulating outrage,
their pity distilled vicariously,

Experience confused with viewing,
Visceral reality muddled with image.
They watch war on the news
And think that’s enough.

Media

Video