Sunday, 5 June 2016

Sunday Poem

We killed with the best of intentions.
The goals that we died for were sound.
The notions we killed for were sterling,
our motives the sort that one mentions,
frankly, with pride.
                            Quit scrupling,
quibbling, lying down
and lay this down:
                            Bad guys by the graveful we gunned down so girls, little girls
by the classful, could go to school. Girls, too, busing to school,
           we slew so girls could go to school unharmed, in error
we slew them, with better intentions, bad eggs however we harmed
           to win hearts, warm cockles, gain guts and livers and
                           limbs and minds
with decent intentions, good eggs we even armed (only good eggs
           armed)—the rest we smashed, truncated,
atomized until the doves among us
                                                   buckled, seldom seeing dead men un-
           dismantled, while heads of this and that kept touting,
hawking our cause like crack,
           our crystal intentions, motives one mentions
especially when aim is less than exact
            and friendlies get fried… 
With downsized intentions we killed and we strafed
and we mortared and missiled and mined,
sniped too, droned too,
           till we wilted to haunts in OSI wards, nightly
wading tarns and tar-ponds incarnadine,
and they dosed and discharged and forsook us,
but on we kept killing with credible reasons
in a lush neural loop of gibbering visions
from hovering gunships, maniacally hooting,
culling the groundlings with motives forgotten
to a playlist of metal eternally cycling… 
Of course, looking back, you would like to reboot
and start over, but there is no over—
this spraying and shredding forever recursive—
this Gatling drum always ample with ammo—
and papa and papa our weapons keep bleating—
a ceaseless returning and endless rehearsing—
you’re killing with the best of
with the best of them
killing with the best of
with the best of them, killing,
By Steven Heighton. from The Walking Comes Late (Anansi, 2016)

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