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.