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A Minute's Silence


A poem by Iona Soper, Associate for Secure Scotland - https://www.securescotland.scot/people/iona-soper


Our vigil was sheltered from thunderous clouds

By the dripping limbs of the Hiroshima Tree

There’s something about sadness to draw out the crowds Our annual adieu; we’ll get damp if needs be


We raised up our banner and raised up our voice

As the drops fell and the sky became bleaker

Remember the Treaty! A rare chance to rejoice

At the inviting words of an invited speaker


The sun escaped the clouds, reached down and purified us

The clouds rushed quickly over to drag her out of sight

Echoes of tortured testimonies given today to guide us

‘Just keep on crawling towards the light’


A minute of silence and a last tear dripped free

A final kind word was exchanged with a friend

We leave, and the wind ripped the leaves from the tree

To be scattered like ashes upon the West End


Undeterred, the storm seized it’s chance to baptise

The shaken scout for shelter, a damp doorway to hide

As translucent rain shot down from white skies

The first pangs of hunger rose up inside


How lucky we are, for our rain to bring life

For every chance taken on meeting a stranger

To boast of our tap water from Thurso to Fife

To never know it to bring danger


To preach glory, teach empire and ingrain in the gut

That blood must always be thicker than water

But rain can be black and thicker than blood

The rain that came after we sanctioned a slaughter


Our rain grows heather hillsides and handfast carnations

Ice-skating on lochs when it freezes

Black rain brings orphans, making graveside libations

With a molotov cocktail of deathly diseases


Solidarity with victims, both living and lost

Our system is broken; you give us strength to disrupt it

Peace is a line that should never be crossed

Nuclear warfare is hell made public


Anti-nuclear family, my peaceful people’s pantheon

We carry no swords, nor desire to unsheathe them

But with arms outstretched, our umbrellas are drawn

And we will shelter your stories beneath them


We live in a world where wars wage for profits

Our efforts can feel like a drop in the ocean

But what is a storm, if not a collective of droplets

Raised up by cruel winds and united in motion?


What’s a minute of silence, to 76 years of torment?

What’s a fast, or a placard, to a storm of black rain?

Whoever, wherever you are in this moment

It’s never too late to pledge NEVER again.


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