This is the text of the poem set to music by Jerome De Bromhead
I Breathe A Drug
I breathe a drug
And what I call it is
The war against the war,
Against the waste of things,
Gives way to awe,
The poet’s useless pity for
The O in everything
That fights against the law
What brought all this about?
What makes the poet think
He has it in his power
To bring his moment out
Of time and burn it in
To someone else’s hour,
To call the laws of sequence false,
And send you walking through
The blueness of an evening town
That yearns for going out
For fear of staying home?
Well, that was done to him and now
He wants to do it in return.
The town knows what is meant.
It’s covered with a sheet of doubt
Imperial in width and length,
And on it all the drops of neon light
Are sequins, like the tears
A youthful woman sheds the while
She’s lying helpless on her back
Beneath her friend the moon.
The moon is glazed with waiting.
The town has emptied out.
But still the traffic lights trip through
Their declaration of inhuman rights,
And still the streets cry Yield.
Our best weapons cannot be used,
But what use could we put peace to?
Atom bomb or Milky Way, both lose.
Victory or defeat ends with a sigh,
Threatening the walls with doors.
And look, here is an open one,
And someone coming through it,
Breathless, impatient, saying,
People have lost patience,
There’s going to be war in the streets,
The place is deserted,
I’m telling you, I was out there,
And it’s the same as in here, or nearly.