Liz Verlander shares a poem she wrote about the human chain protest linking Greenham, Aldermaston and Burghfield.

Coach Trip To The End of The World

Liz Verlander

This is a poem I wrote when I was 17 after a demonstration at Greenham – the Good Friday Protest against Cruise Missiles and the Nuclear Arms race. It was a human chain Linking Greenham, Aldermaston and Burghfield in 1983.

The poem won a local prize.

The poem is written to my boyfriend at the time – my first love . He ended up flying helicopters for the RAF.

Coach Trip to the End of the World

There spanned the masses from village to village

There must have been thousands gathered for peace.

We sent balloons to beg for our freedom

We saw so many get caught in the trees.

Then we linked arms from village to village.

The sun although pale brightened our sky.

(How is it that God will acknowledge our feelings,

When His image on earth will have them denied?)

Speak like a child for they are all children.

Speak like a man for men rarely hear.

We are the babes of a warmonger nation.

We’ll be the parents to ghosts that can’t care.

I lost some friends amongst all those faces.

I lost my sister and then I lost you.

There were too many to distinguish mere features.

Those thousands were all me and all looked like you.

And when I found you, (Did I really find you?),

We found the masses longing for home.

Still there was singing, still there was dancing,

 But still it was darkening and still it was cold.

The wait seemed eternal, (Are we still waiting?)

Your body shivered, I shivered inside.

Still there was warmth in the wild conversation.

Friends in their thousands! But will it all die?

“Will it all die? “I ask on the way back.

The road is all blocked and the pace is so slow.

Someone outside gives us the V sign

But victory has died in the damp and the cold.

Don’t let it die I say as you’re sleeping.

I stay awake for gone are my dreams.

So many faces, so many voices,

So many feelings! But what have we gained?

Is this our fate from village to village?

Is this the road to the end of the world?

Speak like a child for it’s getting late now.

Its getting dark. I long for my home.