On June 10, 1942, the German government announced that it had destroyed the small village of Lidice, Czechoslovakia, killing every adult male and some fifty-two women. All surviving women and children were then deported to concentration camps, or if found suitable to be “Germanized”, sent to the greater Reich. The Nazis then proudly proclaimed that the village  of Lidice, its residents, and its very name, were now forever blotted from memory.

With each sped up massacre
birds shot out from trees with each shaking luger,
let me report the apple orchard of drunk soldiers and wasps,
let me edit out the keen underling inebriated on cleansing a whole town.

With each slowed down massacre
I see men in rows of ten queue to meet their unmaker,
I see children humanised then germanised then heavenized.
Let me edit out the beautiful daughter now gargoyle of the cruel miasma.

With each decade Lidice moves a yard further from the surface.
Take my hand and walk us in single file to the orchard trees,
tell me that fascist butchers are ashamed of their meat,
how they rush bury the remains and guilt eats them.

Tell me that the ride to Lodz for the children was short,
that they never slept in their urine on gestapo floors,
tell me that their faces never went haggard in fog,
show me that all the things I know are too evil.


With five collections of poetry focusing on conflict Antony Owen is a well respected writer known for investigative poetry which took him to Hiroshima in 2015 to interview atomic bomb survivors. His subsequent collection, The Nagasaki Elder (V.Press) was shortlisted for a Ted Hughes Award in 2017

‘Lidice’ was first published on 14th September 2018. Antony’s newest collection ‘Post Atomic Glossaries: New & Selected Poems’ will be published by Broken Sleep Books this year (2024).



And So it goes On – There is no Time to Cry

I have no time to cry: a teacher in Gaza – The Guardian, UK, 5 Nov 2023.
My Children were saying: Let them just kill us – British Doctor on the stress of being trapped in Gaza with family – The Guardian, UK, 29 Oct 2023


The cats will scatter, their higher frames per second perception
catching the shadow of the falling bombs. People are slower.

Clouds hide in a black sky. Stars are ashamed of themselves.

There is a moment before death, surely, when the body knows.
I read somewhere that the human soul weighs twenty-six grams.
I don’t know if a child’s soul weighs less. Still
the thousands killed is a heavy burden. There is no time to cry.

I knew a cat once who was suspicious of me but learned
to be affectionate. It is said that cats carry the souls
of saints – the pure, the young. There are always cats after a war.
And there will be ghosts – so many lost, looking for a home.

On my screen: a bird’s eye view of buildings reducing to dust, to crumble.
It’s not real. There is no noise, no whistle
of the bomb as it drops in for the kill. There are no cats with me
to teach me to run.

It’s like some cruel experiment in a biology class – a community
is being bisected to see how much suffering it can take –
two million people. More. There is nothing we will learn.
We have no ears, no eyes. We let them just kill. Perhaps
we have already lost our own souls.

Some places have always known the shadow of the bomb.
This place is losing its place. The cats are showing the red scream
of their mouths to the sky. There is no time to cry.

The sun arrives early. There are no buildings to hide it.

It always starts with an act of terror (terror begets terror).
Some say there is enough killing. Others say there is never enough.
How can one satisfy hate? How can one placate it?

The old and the sick must pick up their beds and move south.
But even the south is a trap. Let the babies grow wings and fly.

There are tunnels under the hospitals. There are terrorists
amongst the sick and the broken. The soldiers
will go through everything that is in their way.
They will just kill. There’ll be no time to cry.

There are even cats lost in the rubble, in the slow bloom
of a bomb exploding – their lives are not endless.
The weight of souls increases. The cats that remain will roam
the ruins. But they will learn to trust again. The people that remain
will relearn that the great powers have no time for them,
won’t even grant them the weight of their souls.

And so it goes on. There is no time to cry.


Frank Dullaghan is an Irish poet living in the UK. His 5th collection, In the Coming of Winter, (2021) was published by Cinnamon Press. He holds an MA in Writing from the University of South Wales and most of his published work occurred whilst he lived in the Middle East.