Two Minutes Silence
Ordered by social convention into inaction,
I sit at my desk and abstain –
I keep my head down and stare at my pen till I hear
The murmur of morning again.
Like most, I start on my shutdown at ten-fifty-eight,
And end at eleven-oh-four,
To cover the randomly-synchronised watches of colleagues –
And never mind minding the store.
Across the room, someone is typing. (Is that still allowed ?)
Their rat-a-tat keystokes clatter.
A phone rings out the alarm, which nobody answers,
Till voicemail settles the matter.
I ought to be thinking, I know, of tommies and trenches,
Of birdsong, bombardements and screams –
Instead, I just notice this shuffle’ing silence-by-rote –
My thoughts are deserters, it seems.