Wednesday, June 20, 2007


I wrote a post about Salman Rushdie's knighthood, and then deleted it, coward that I am. So here instead is a poem I wrote a couple of days after the London bombing. Not that the two things have anything in common. Of course not.

Was the sequence unknown?

Was the sequence unknown?
Had they, perhaps, missed a turning?
Did they, in fact, know something else?
Or did another get there first –
Long after the incident.
With their civilian shoes and laundered notes
And a taste for Allah; yet human
With the sense and feeling of us all?

It sometimes seems the private days are here again.
That our innocence is misplaced,
Found in lost luggage, when the crime’s long gone.
“Yes, he lived here, But I never knew him.”
Our global village, a lawless west
With flowers amassed to mark the spot.

And life goes on. The build up of expected days
Where nothing as strange as love or death might happen.
You would think you’d sense approaching tragedy
Or thrills.
unhooking her bra in a terror zone,
for the first time,

Better, much better than nothing.
For we step too easily into loneliness,
And tread in the seeds of our hate.

Language always escapes us of course "tread in" in the last line is meant to be "tread" as in "treading grapes" rather than accidentally stepping in something.

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