Monday, 30 January 2012

The Picture















When I was given a gun
And trained to kill people,
I tried hard to imagine
Why anyone would want to kill me...
Or I them!
This memory surfaced when I saw...
The picture...
He didn't look like a monster
More like a Grattan's catalogue model
Air-brushed, posed, not quite 'cool'
With a sort of gloss...smooth, glazed
A carapace of self-righteous arrogance.
I thought of the other pictures...
Smiling, cheeky, open young faces
Life spread before them like a summer picnic
Again, I tried to enter his mind...his soul...
Like many before him, he saw himself a Messiah,
A crusader, rallying the faithful
To combat the forces of evil...
Throughout man's history his ilk are reviled
Or sanctified and lauded by their fellows...
When I was given a gun and trained to kill
My future too, lay before me
Like a summer picnic...but
Like him, I was to kill strangers
To contain the spreading of their creed
Like him, my leaders had no faith
That their own beliefs were unassailable.

© Peter Flint

Experts want Breivik hospitalised
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Peter is 77, belongs to Rossington Writers' Group, Doncaster and writes short stories and poems  for his grandkids. He taught for forty years...mainly English. 

Peter says: 'I did my National Service in the infantry immediately after the Korean War but I had been in the Civil Service and they needed a clerk in the Base Company Office so I spent a year in a rat-infested barrack-room in Kure, Japan...at least I didn't have to face folk who were trying to kill me!'

2 comments:

  1. Chilling. I like the repetition of a life spread before you like a summer picnic.

    At least the victims of warfare knew they were living in a warzone and would have been wary; these youngsters had no idea what was to befall them.

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  2. Peter, I served my apprenticeship as a toolmaker at a Royal Ordnance Factory. My conscience worries me because I may have made a contribution somewhere down the line to the death of others. None of us are totally innocent - except, in this case and cases like it, the children. I am always wary of people who have guns, even when they have licenses; there was also Thomas Hamilton, who killed schoolchildren in the Dunblane massacre. Like your poem says "he didn't look like a monster".

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