We Billion Cheered

By Glyn Maxwell b. 1962 Glyn Maxwell
We billion cheered.
        Some threat sank in the news and disappeared.
It did because
        Currencies danced and we forgot what it was.

It rose again.
        It rose and slid towards our shore and when
It got to it,
        It laced like a telegram. We lit

Regular fires,
        But missed it oozing along irregular wires
Towards the Smoke.
        We missed it elbowing into the harmless joke

Or dreams of our
        Loves asleep in the cots where the dolls are.
We missed it how
        You missed an o’clock passing and miss now.

We missed it where
        You miss my writing of this and I miss you there.
We missed it through
        Our eyes, lenses, screen and angle of view.

We missed it though
        It specified where it was going to go,
And when it does,
        The missing ones are ten to one to be us.

We line the shore,
        Speak of the waving dead of a waving war.
And clap a man
        For an unveiled familiar new plan.

Don’t forget.
        Nothing will start that hasn’t started yet.
Don’t forget
        It, its friend, its foe and its opposite.

Glyn Maxwell, “We Billion Cheered” from The Boys at Twilight: Poems 1990-1995. Copyright © 2000 by Glyn Maxwell. Reprinted by permission of Glyn Maxwell.

Source: The Boys at Twilight: Poems 1990-1995 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2000)

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Poet Glyn Maxwell b. 1962


Subjects Living, Time & Brevity, Relationships, Social Commentaries, War & Conflict

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 Glyn  Maxwell


Born in England to Welsh parents, Glyn Maxwell was educated at Oxford University and Boston University, where he studied both poetry and theater with Derek Walcott. This simultaneous training in two disciplines has enabled him to create innovative work across genres. Maxwell has written numerous verse plays as well as long narrative poems. The Sugar Mile (2005), a verse narrative set in a Manhattan bar a few days before . . .

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SUBJECT Living, Time & Brevity, Relationships, Social Commentaries, War & Conflict


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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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