Martin O'Neill

(20-06-1958 / Solihull, Birmingham, England)

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What Price Literacy?


An extraordinary time you have waited
Quiet, in no kind of rush
You must be pleased now that it's over
Your time in the African bush

The grass stalks that rippled around you
The animals passing you by
The fierce yellow sun beating down
From the blue of your African sky.

When you finally burst into flower,
In blossoms of yellow and red
The eight year old girl who unearthed you
Couldn't read the notice that said

Achtung! Minen!

Submitted: Friday, August 01, 2008
Edited: Friday, December 14, 2012

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

As an ex-Sapper (HM Royal Engineers) I have a lot of experience of land mines and the devastation they cause, particularly in the old and new war zones of Africa. This is an observation on that legacy.

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