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Mary Smith is a poet, novelist and journalist living in the south west of Scotland and working in both English and Scots. She spent ten years working in Pakistan and Afghanistan on various health projects including leprosy, tuberculosis control and mother and child health. During this time she began writing articles about life in Afghanistan for newspapers including The Herald and Guardian Weekly. She returned to Scotland in 1996, completing an Honours degree followed by an M.Litt in Creative Writing at Glasgow University. In the three poems below she creates a vivid picture of life in Afghanistan - the trauma of a former soldier, the ancient way of life of women working in the fields, the p

memorial (passchendaele 100)

bugle notes intone the hundred millionth earthly post commemorating how easily men who would not wish to be enemies become cannon fodder in the cause of power muddied and bloodied and mostly youthful conscripted or seduced by words untruthful lambs slaughtering lambs as they are slaughtered all as ordered, all as ordered dignitaries come from ivory towers commemorating hundreds of thousands of mud-swamped casualties sacrificed a hundred days under boot as trade for five miles so-called advancing muddied and bloodied and mostly youthful conscripted or seduced by words untruthful lambs slaughtering lambs as they are slaughtered all as ordered, all as ordered inh

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