by Painted Dog
a cry for the terror of that terrible night in Paris - poem
A shard of light
Through heaven falls,
Brought there by frantic calls
From Infidel troops in gardens crouching,
Under heavy war burdens slouching.
Mujhadeen have brought grim fire to bear,
Shocked from complacency these troops trapped there.
So in a distant land so foreign
A boy officer unleashed deadly force
To fall upon a land sovereign.
Thus began this dreadful course
That would a peaceful morning shatter,
Falling brick and timber sunder
Across the road will scatter.
As death from nowhere will suddenly thunder
much faster than the eye can see,
Leaving the shattering sound so far above,
Moves this slim graceful lethal assassin
As a falcon stooping on hapless dove.
This message from the West screams a last defiance
Then with lung bursting blast bellowing
Shatters lives and histories into dust,
And so destroying a fragile alliance.
In that silence before the screams
That dust and smoke dance in dreams,
A second is as an hour so it seems.
There in the white cloaked ruins
A small hand quivers a last pain,
Blood seeps slowly sucking life into the dust
This casualty never to laugh, run or play again.
A soldier’s hand brushes hair from lifeless face,
Gently seeking a pulse to feel.
There behind a God carved ear so out of place
The assassin’s gift glints grim grey
A shard of steel
A shard of light
splits the dark night.
Touching faces shadowed in fright,
covered in darkness hidden from sight.
Deep in his chest a powerful yearning-
Born unholy of twisted learning,
That sets a hatred fire burning.
So this vapid youth of little ambition,
Through insidious sacrilegious sedition,
With sacred brothers in decision
Swear a deed to strike a holy blow.
Against them who behind hands speak
Blasphemy of those sacred teachings,
Of the Prophet ancient and Blessed
To crush those infidel in that city low.
Made famous by the steel clad peak
Above the City of Light reaching,
Its people so free its streets so loved
So where thousands lift voices to soccer heroes urge,
To streets where dancers surge,
Quiet bistros where lovers and revelers entwine,
It’s there, as moths to these lights called
Our hate filled children gather and prayers mumble,
Their greatest fear is on the scared path to stumble.
So with vicious chattering of Kalashnikov fire,
And thudding roar of improvised body bombs blast,
Their terrible answer a crescendo roars
And forever this place of love into shadow casts.
The duet of terror and death split the peace of this night
And the darkness of the horror smothers the City of Light.
Bodies lie in random attitudes of death and so dismembered,
So these pictures fly to the world to be remembered
By cellular technology delivered.
A bleeding Gendarme kneels on the cobbles hard
Touching the face of a child so marred
Her beauty torn and misshapen
By a glinting glass shard
A shard of light
Hand carved rock
That would direct sight block.
But instead a pattern on the wall paints,
Softly this light falls gently broken
And so shines on the faces of saints.
And on the altar glints a holy token
Its significant shadow reaching
To touch the soul of a man praying,
The old fingers bound in supplication,
The Rosary moving in smooth devotion,
His lips in prayer his only motion,
The tear on his cheek his only emotion.
Deep within this holy palace tolls a bell,
Its persistent strike sorrow doth spell,
Of a terrible deed so evil doth tell.
So too in that ancient Eastern city
Where once Constantine on Christ took pity,
The light filters through windows ancient
On mosaic messages laid so patient.
Men murmur prayer gentle and calm,
there in devoted silence an Imam calls ,
his old hand counts dhikr
As time smoothed beads of subha
Through his pain knotted fingers flicker.
His prayers he sings softly
Pour out grief for the maimed,
As he calls out to the Almighty
His silent cry of anguish
A terrible conflict foretells.
In the distance he hears the ringing of the bells
Tolling out grief to the Ancient City.
Both men of faiths so different
Ask the same Creator for the same pity.
They cry out against such violence insane,
Pleading both antagonists for mercy.
So this insanity grips the world
Pictures of Paris proliferate, and yet Lebanon’s terror is untold.
Where will life end again?
Cut short and maimed giving such pain,
In this darkness of our spiritual night,
Where terror real will bind our courage so tight,
Will there be an end to this plight?
Where now that Shard
That shard of light?