About the poet
Jane Weir is an Anglo-Italian writer and designer. She has published two poetry collections with...
1914, Working With Red in a Field Hospital, Belgium
Back in the workshop I look
for any kind of flux, discrepancy,
or break from the uniform,
when dyeing wild madder with gromwell,
or common sorrel with bedstraw, but not here.
The men lie, abstract shapes & sizes
angled & shattered in beds,
a fraction between types & ages.
Without exception all dye red,
grimy sheets, make do blankets.
I notice little variation in shade
or depth of shade, or length of spread or seep,
or smear or splatter;
where the bandage unravels,
or the flesh stitches bloom & split.
Take this boy – he won’t mind me showing you.
His wound replicates early nineteenth century anilines –
look closely at his right buttock,
see mauve going green, going flinch black –
no amount of handiwork can stop
the corruption that imprints flesh,
there are no mordants for miles around.
from Walking the Block (Templar, 2008), © Jane Weir 2008, used by permission of the author and the publisher
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