आज़ादी विशेषांक / Freedom Special

अंक 13 / Issue 13

TV Wars Again: Jane Bhandari

Proposal For A Monument

For days we watched
As the planes flew endlessly
Into and through the towers,
Saw the towers endlessly fall.

What monument shall we build
To those that died that day?
Those skeletons against the sky
Are gone, more poignant
Than any monument could be,
Their black lattices cried out
In the jagged shapes of grief.

Emptiness allows us to forget
That dreadful wail. Fill
That space with fretted edges,
With skeletal lattices,
And splinter them with glass,
Let them reflect the sky; and let planes
Fly past each morning, in mockery
Of that elegant and simple execution,
That coup de grace in terror’s name.

TV Wars

Do you hear the tramp of armies,
The hungry feet going to war?
Do you hear the earth cry out
Under the hammer of the bombs?
At night, can you rest easy,
Or are you haunted
By those terrible TV pictures
Of the dead and the dispossessed,
The sick and the homeless,
The dying and the hopeless,
That gaze blankly into our homes,

And we sit comfortably
And watch the TV pictures
Of the dead and the dispossessed,
The hungry, the sick,
The wounded and despairing,
Scenes from another world.

You can turn it off:
It’s only another of those TV wars.

Death, Live On TV

The shuttle’s fiery column
Rose into the air, amid smoke and flame
And streaked across the sky,
Roaring, a triumphant symbol
Of power. A successful launch,
A routine lift-off, mundane.
Recorded live, on TV.

Its meteoric return was as fiery.
A brilliant flash and sparkle
Was the only warning sign
As the shuttle skipped and tumbled
Into the thickening atmosphere,
An intense glittering scratch
Across the morning sky.

After the immense thunder, silence,
Before the hideous rain of debris
Began to fall in a long swathe,
Recorded live, on TV.

The drama was played and replayed,
Recounted dispassionately
Again and again,
By the calm voiced news reader.
Disaster has its own fascination,
Not least when we see it live:
It’s not often you can say,
I saw it happen, I was almost there,
I saw death, live on TV.

TV Wars Again

The helicopter hovered like an angel
Over the roofs of the town
And dropped behind the buildings:
We heard the engines cut out. Silence
Descended slowly like a parachute
Obliterating its arrival.
O the bright lights of that angel
Bearing food and doctors,
Landing into the deadly silence.
Then it soared away,
Leaving its emissaries, like so many eggs
Waiting to be hatched, on the ground.
Guns stammered behind the buildings
For a short while, question and answer.
Silence again fell like a white parachute,
Softly, softly obliterating the cries of the dying.
Our TV showed pictures of dead soldiers.
The angel did not return.

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