Our sleep has been troubled by evil dreams

of children who no longer wish

to sit in our branches and look at the sky.

We used to gladly bear their weight

on ropes which bit and cut our flesh

and they would swing up higher, higher,

feeling the jubilant gut-lurch of fear

willing flight but wanting escape.

They were masters, but now they are marionettes.*

They have made us their instruments of death.

Now we will fear the approach of the young

preparing to kill, preparing to mourn.

First published in Reach

Between January 2007 and April 2008, nineteen young people apparently took their own lives in the Bridgend area of South Wales, UK. All but one were found hanged. The average number of suicides per annum in this area is three.

* ‘A Master of the Marionettes’ by Guy Hibbert, BBC One Television, 1989



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