Thursday, 11 November 2010

Raymond Garlick - Auguries of Guilt.

One must be realistic : man
Is crueller and more violent than
All other living creatures. We
Alone of animals agree
To decimate our species by
Polluting land and sea and sky.
This we must face: the human lot
Is to be capable of garrotte.
To be a creature who guillotines,
Hangs, shoots, tortures; builds a store
Of nuclear weapons; goes to war.

No other animal does this -
Not the hamadryad's kiss
Nor the scorpion's plunging thorn
Match the weapons man has worn.
No cloud of hook-beaked birds of prey
Dismembered Dresden that dark day.
The leopard nor the jaguar
Ripped apart Hiroshima.
No flame-eyed, ravening tiger fell
On Guernica. Man shaped its hell.
Wolf and hyena had no part
In Auschwitz. All was human art.

The world view of a red-eyed bull
Today is quite respectable.
Who are our Great? The school-books pick
Alexander and Frederick;
And, to impress that violence rules,
The cane and strap sing in the schools.
What is honour? a gun-bright guard,
Its files inspected in charade;
A statue in a city square
Of General X slashing the air,
The shadow of arch-violence thrown
Down the ages from the stone.

Mock machine-guns make fine toys
For nicely bought up little boys,
And tailored royals ride the street
Costumed for bloodshed, gloved and neat
Whose image many a church augments
With laid-up flags of regiments.
Each village has its cenotaph
Raised on violence's behalf.
Man is the animal that hates.
What hope for us, for nations, states?
This: only we, who hate like hell,
Only we can love as well.

FROM:- Glas-nos, Cerddi Dros Heddwch/ Poems for Peace. CND Cymru 1987.


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