Tapestry of War

by Rachel Haddy

for Miklós Radnóti

The child of a textiles man,
Your fingers burnt to stitch,
To weave your words with threads of gore,
From shattered sky to ditch.

Your needle scarred the burning flesh,
Of Europe’s sickened skin.
As white and sheer as jagged bone,
As bright and sharp as sin.

You tore up strips of blood-stained cloth,
And passed like cigarettes,
These folded squares which lit the walls,
With ink and silhouettes.

But somewhere in the patchwork quilt,
A snaking whisper crept.
It hissed your name through tombstone teeth,
And nudged you as you slept.

It cut your threads and buried you,
Where bones of others lie.
But I see fibres of your soul,
Stitched nightly in the sky.

I hear your murmured lyrics,
Knit a shroud of what you saw,
A fraying ghost which haunt us all,
Your tapestry of war.