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 Thursday, 9 January, 2003, 11:11 GMT
Poet Laureate pens anti-war poem
Andrew Motion
Andrew Motion was made Poet Laureate in 1999
The UK's Poet Laureate has written an anti-war poem in which he casts doubts over the motives behind a possible war with Iraq.

Motion, who was appointed Poet Laureate in 1999, has written a 30-word poem questioning US President George Bush's basis for war, suggesting money, greed, oil and his father have influenced him.

Click here to read Andew Motion's Poem

Respected director Martin Scorsese has also questioned the motives and morality behind a possible US war against Iraq.

The Gangs of New York director said many Americans were cynical about the US administration's intentions and its relationship with the oil industry.

Motion's poem, entitled Causa Belli meaning the motives of pretext for war, highlights the division between country leaders and opponents of war because ordinary people struggle to have their voices heard.

"The poem is not really concerned to address or question whether or not we should go to war, because we can't make a final decision about that until weapons inspectors find whatever there is to find," Motion told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"But it is about how I think we should be more candid when we are talking about what the causes of this thing are, what it is that is driving us forward."

Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese has directed Gangs of New York

'Intelligence'

It is unusual for a Poet Laureate to pen a poem which criticises Western leaders, but Motion believes it is in his remit to write about contentious issues.

"I think that when I took on this post I said to myself, and anyone that would listen, that there is a good reason for thinking that if it was going to mean anything significant it should be interpreted in a way that allowed me to write about events in the royal calendar as and when I can, but also to write about matters of national interest."

Oscar-nominated director Scorsese, who is currently promoting his latest film Gangs of New York, has joined a chorus of US celebrities voicing their concerns.

"There's a danger of America going to war and I do not believe that everyone in America feels the same way," he told the Today programme.

"One hopes that this kind of war can be done diplomatically, with intelligence rather than wiping out a lot of innocent civilians."

"There are a lot of Americans who feel that this is economic and part of it has to do with the oil, maybe most of it," he added.

He said he had been reminded of the slogan used by anti-war campaigners during the 1991 Iraq conflict - "no blood for oil".

In December, more than 100 celebrities signed a letter to Mr Bush, voicing their opposition to military action.

Actors Martin Sheen, Sean Penn, Samuel L Jackson and Kim Basinger were among the signatories of the anti-war message.

Causa Belli by Andrew Motion

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.

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  Andrew Motion
"We should be more candid on the causes of this thing"
  Martin Scorcese
"I do not believe that everyone in America feels the same way"

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