Trying to get the sadness out. A haiku, a short poem, and a tanka.
Grief pangs twist the heart
Wring tears from vague sentiment
A sea to drown in.
A child is dead
And another and another
All someone’s children
All my children
So many parents’ tears
A flood of heart’s blood
To quench the fires of hatred
But ideals do not listen
Fanatics need guns
I did not know you
never held your hand in mine
or called out your name
but I grieve for your absence
the world is a darker place.
This poem is in response to Peter Bouchier’s comment that we need words of hope of some kind ‘in these dark days’. This week has seen enough shocking, senseless deaths on our European doorstep to make any right-minded human being shout, stop! Whoever is doing it, whyever they are doing it, this is not the way.
Once death reached down from parching summer skies,
Crept into cradles with a spring that came too late,
Strangled with a winter’s grip too hard too long,
Stalked the streets, a pox, a plague, a reason of state.
Death came in many simple forms
Slim blade simple, empty belly or a soldier’s hand
Too little food, a poisoned well, or too much snow
The simple terror of the tyrant in command.
But in these safer democratic days
When science and education shine their healing light
The tyrant is the leader with a poisoned tongue
Who fans the flames and sends men out to fight.
Too quick to heed the words of hatred we refuse
To see the beauty in ourselves, our world and be content
But butcher maim and justify another’s pain
In these dark days of our enlightenment.
On this day the sun beats down
From skies of eggshell blue
And gulls float by cloud white,
Whisps of feathered foam.
On this day the air vibrates
With crickets, traffic, the screeching voice
Of the neighbour calling to her cats
While the sea rolls gentle on the pebbled beach.
Sea cliffs gleam beneath the sun
In silvery calm holding back the waves
And laughter plashes in the pools
Where children poke unhappy crabs.
On that day the air was dull
As if the sky refused to see.
The cracked air screamed with the voice of death
Untimely, man-made, relentless death.
On that day the sea rolled red
The beaches stained like a butcher’s floor.
For the thousands who beneath the cliffs
Pushed back the wave of abject philosophy
With their soft bodies, their hopes and dreams
That longest day stretches to eternity.
Kite hangs in the blue air
Cold eyes see only death and dying
Not the glint of sunlight on wavelets
Nor the white winged grace of the gull.
For the raptor life is simple
It balances on a breeze
Wheels on a wingtip with death.