(04 October 1943 / Germany)

Bloodshed

I had to close the book of mankind's history,
it told of many wars, of bloodshed and of torture,
describing in disturbing but extensive detail,
how one can split a skull and full-grown man in half,
right down the centre of his hapless, useless being.
As if he'd never mattered or deserved to live.

So many years and so much blood was spilled,
that fertile fields bore witness to man's greatest folly.
On page eleven of four hundred, many illustrated,
they had included a description of a gallic guillotine,
complete with animation, only light touch was required,
and in true colours bloody heads rolled to the bottom of the page.

I had now seen enough, of pages so explicit
and stuffed it back into the very upper shelf.
And out of sight was out of mind, all within minutes.
I'd closed the book on one man's cruelty to others.

But the Jack Russell's death watch in Zimbabwe
disturbed me so that I was forced to close my eyes.

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Comments (4)

this is really good work, Herbert. masterfully written. Jake
The emotional clarity of this, and Rich Hanson's recent poem on the experience of an abattoir and the memory of Auschwitz, make a powerful pair.
You know, genius, Sandra is correct. I do believe, that poetry is one of many of your fortes, how about a book? I know it would sell Warm and Kind Regards, Dear man, Theodora
The ending really grabs you, I like your latest style. Sometimes less is more. Excellent, Excellent work.