William Alderson
A Moment of Disbelief: Poems on War, Terrorism and Refugees
September 2017. 43 pp. ISBN-13 978-3-901993-60-2
£7.00 (+ 1.50 p&p), €7.00 (+ 1.50 p&p), US$10.00 (+ 2.50 p&p)
A Moment of Disbelief is a convincing and unequivocal condemnation of war and its exploitative and inhumane consequences. At the beginning of this collection, the poem “The Weeping Woman (by Pablo Picasso)” stands out as an apt signifier for the grief and suffering as a result of war prevalent in our world today. A subtle evocation of humanity is present throughout this collection; and there is hope too, as expressed in the poem “The Lost Fen Ragwort”, which ends with “one lost flower recovered, / one waking to friends and joy, / one open door inviting me to live.” This justifiably, politically-charged collection could be enjoyed for the expressive sharpness of its poetry while giving a significant pause for thought.”
John Lyons

“William Alderson is a poet of skill and intensity. His poems often display deep feeling about war and migration. Like Shelley, clearly a poetic hero for him, he reacts with eloquent dismay to the horrors of combat and suffering. And like Shelley he is not content with a rhetoric of protest; he also examines, in poems such as “The Mask”, the theme of complicity in political wrong. This is a compelling collection, at once forceful and subtle. Reworked nursery rhymes, the sonnet and the villanelle, plus adroitly handled stanza forms and adapted songs, all appear in a volume that, through its fusion of art and controlled anger, serves as ‘an open door, inviting [us] to live’.”
Michael O'Neill

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Table of Contents

Excerpts from A Moment of Disbelief

Gulf War Photograph

The photograph perpetuates a moment
And traps the uncompleted call to flight.
We can consider, in the colder light
Of day, the burning urge to movement.
Of course, this sculpture, poised inside the wreckage
Of a blackened cab, could never have leapt
Beyond the frame, so this picture has kept
A faithful record of the final image.

The eyes that stare intensely are fired still
By knowledge of all the degrees of pain
As flesh is thumbed back from the life to clay
And flames suck breath from ashes, dust. In vain
You turn away, this death has had its say:
“I’m not the only one your generals kill!”


The soldiers have freed Kosovo for you
And swept across the border just as planned,
But armies do what armies always do.

Defeating all the enemies who slew
Your loved ones, now the future will be grand:
The soldiers have freed Kosovo for you.

The promise is their forces will renew
Your shattered lives and lend a helping hand,
But armies do what armies always do.

They liberate the power of the few
To take control, and soon you understand
The soldiers have freed Kosovo for you

To follow NATO’s orders. It is true
You didn’t think they’d occupy your land,
But armies do what armies always do.

There’s little hope that you’ll not learn to rue
The day your home became a no-man’s land.
The soldiers have freed Kosovo for you,
But armies do what armies always do.


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