Today's poem is by W.N. Herbert

The Guernica Duck

The Guernica duck is shouting on the table
but nobody is listening to him.
His body is lit up like a Gurkha knife
but nobody is noticing.

Women fall and flail and thrust
but they do not throttle.
They wail and the bull wails too,
even though he is a porcelain figurine:
his tail is a fumerole,
his anus an Etna of indignation.

The horse fires cordite neighs across
the room/square: he is a newspaper blown
across your dying face. But the women
do not throttle, they do not pluck
and they do not cook
the Guernica duck.

The women have children to mourn,
husbands to lament — even the lightbulb has
a desperate sun, a bomb-burst to impersonate.
Only the duck is overlooked,
too stupid to realise that even
the bereaved must eat tomorrow.

Only the Guernica duck is shouting,
'Look at me: I'm frightened too!'
Only to him has it occurred
that he will never be forgotten.

Copyright © 2003 W.N. Herbert All rights reserved
from The Big Bumper Book of Troy
Bloodaxe Books Ltd. / Dufour Editions
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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