Jeremy Bowen on Breathing

If you asked most journalists whether a story was worth their life they would say absolutely not. But then I have never met a journalist (and in that I include all varieties of news people) who goes out on a day’s work in a dangerous place expecting to die.

This is the opening paragraph in a piece by Jeremy Bowen in this week’s Press Gazette.

Read the full article here.

And this is the poem he refers to.

We spoke, we chose to speak of war and strife –
a task a fine ambition sought –
and some might say, who shared our work, our life:
that praise was dearly bought.

Drivers, interpreters, these were our friends.
These we loved. These we were trusted by.
The shocked hand wipes the blood across the lens.
The lens looks to the sky.

Most died by mischance. Some seemed honour-bound
to take the lonely, peerless track
conceiving danger as a testing ground
to which they must go back

till the tongue fell silent and they crossed
beyond the realm of time and fear.
Death waved them through the checkpoint. They were lost.
All have their story here.

James Fenton



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