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Monday 1st May 2003

 Causa Belli

Causa Belli is a latin phrase, which translates as 'causes, motives or pretexts of war'.

They read good books, and quote, but never learn
a language other than the scream of rocket-burn.
Our straighter talk is drowned but ironclad
elections, money, empire, oil and Dad.

Andrew Motion was appointed poet laureate by the Queen in 1999

Causa Belli is a latin phrase, which translates as 'causes, motives or pretexts of war'. Motion has voiced doubts about the case for war. He is concerned the politcal rhetoric does not expose "several of the motives which are actually driving the thing forward. In other words, it's as much to do with oil, imperialism and a sort of strange father fixation [on President Bush's part]. They are not being candid."

Andrew Motion is keen to remain objective on the subject of war against Iraq, but wants to open up the debate on Iraq. "I do believe that, if there are weapons of mass destruction discovered in Iraq, something needs to be done.... There is no compelling evidence yet. It may still come to light, in which case the picture changes. This is not a poem about whether we should go to war. We can't decide that because we don't yet know whether there are weapons. It's a poem about wishing to be more candid."

Previous work by poet laureates.
* Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote the poem 'Charge of the Light Brigade', following the Crimean war.
* John Masefield wrote two patriotic columes 'A Generation Risen' and 'Some Verses to Some Germans'.

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