Photo of the artist PJ Harvey

The Ministry of Defence

PJ Harvey


This is the ministry of defence
The stairs and walls are all that’s left
Mortar holes let through the air
Kids do the same thing everywhere
They’ve sprayed graffiti in arabic
And balanced sticks in human shit

This is the ministry of remains
Fizzy drinks cans, magazines
Broken glass, a white jawbone
Syringes, razors, a plastic spoon
Human hair, a kitchen knife
And the ghost of a girl who runs and hides

There’s the bus depot to the right
Levelled like a building site
Those are the children’s cries from the dark
These are the words written under the arch
Scratched in the wall in biro pen
This is how the world will end

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