April 04, 2009


What column inch for those who die unnoticed?
Only the tabloids’ slaver, hint and rhyme.
Only the lunchtime news can solemnly offer
Their bite-sized, bland, familiar encomiums.

The drizzle patters gently on
The bin-bags that he wrapped you in.
And as another dusk creeps forth
Unseen, the rain has filled your mouth.

You are not a story yet. Your death
Is not yet known, nor real. We gape
At OBs, telling of new leads
Whilst we drink tea. There’s still hope

That this will be the one in ten that ends
OK, that you got lost, or ran away
Or will be rescued still…
But in that ditch you have already met,
Alone, your secret death. It’s just
The newspapers don’t know it yet.

(After Wilfred Owen)