Now our marriage is spiralling,
spinning beyond our control
and we have wounded each other
lovelost, vowbroken, ringthrown,

first we used silence as weapons
then we used words and then fists
the arms race was swift and impressive
our hands are now empty, they twist

in the dust. We have thrown
everything away but our anger
and still we have to keep fighting.
But there’s something we can do together:

let’s use the children as weapons,
let’s use the children as bait,
let’s keep each other’s memory
hated and naked and shamed

let’s use the children as infantry,
let’s use the children as spies,
let’s bring them up with the Director’s cut
with spin and with spite and with lies,

let’s use the children as weapons
let’s use the children as snares
we’ll have plenty more years of reprisals
if we make our unhappiness theirs.

Clare Kirwan


Clare is a performance poet and writer based in Wirral, Merseyside, sister of our consultant Steve Kirwan, and wrote “weapons” for us some years ago in response to a commission. It continues to shock, from Judges to parents to trainee mediators.

(c) Clare Kirwan and The Mediation Centre


Nicholas Von Benzon
Jane Boyd
Liz Brown


Elaine Auliffe
01785 273133