… We weren’t orginally planning to do this, but the Marching competition entries were so good that we’re going to treat you to the other two entries that gained honourable mentions. So here’s a cracking poetical entry.
by Bryan Murphy.
Lisbon! Unfresh from the train,
I arrive the evening the coup fails, eager
to grab the smudgy, press-hot leaflets
thrust out by enthusiastic scruffs –
revolutionaries for real.
I find my two friends – keys to a new life –
dump a shabby case of battered belongings,
sample wine, cheese, coffee: ready for action
in the warm September night.
Politics and sight-seeing: sensory nectar
for an eager-eyed anarchist.
Better than Aldermaston, as we flow
from the Bullring to the Edward VII Park
(statue of marquis with lion)
then down the Avenida de Liberdade, yelling
undying devotion to freedom saved today,
into Trafalgar, no, Rossio Square,
our slogans failing to bring down Emperor Maximilian
(bought cheap from the Mexicans
who’d shot the real thing),
through the commercial district, laid out in a grid
for the king’s men to navigate fast, not this red tide
of want-it-now millenarians plunging as victors
into the elegant waterside square, where
by day, a river that seems a sea
reflects Lisbon’s unique light
below Alfama, the walled Arab town.
We follow the river mouthwards,
heaving with indignant, righteous, solid noise,
past a fascist monument to the Discoveries
of long-inhibited lands, past
a tiny fortress squatting on the water,
then the delicate fluted columns
of Jerónimos’s closed cloisters
to our destination: the president’s palace,
cradle of the new-born, military-guided democracy,
where after-midnight campaign euphoria
gives way to chanted blood-lust:
“Spínola, Osório, Galvão:
Distaste flashes among three friends,
then we rally our voices to the cause:
a mighty shared demand
that revolution finally begin
to devour its children.