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Wedding Party

The village wedding guests will not forget
their children charred and broken where they lie.
We haven’t won the war on terror yet.

Terrors by night, a gunship and a jet
have handed down destruction from on high.
Bewailing witnesses will not forget.

The pilots thought their planes were under threat
from rifles fired for joy into the sky.
These tribal customs haven’t died out yet.

A military statement of regret
will not bring back the apples of their eye
to folk who trust in God not to forget.

The act has made of boys whose cheeks were wet
God’s warriors whose holy rage is dry.
We haven’t cured this twisted thinking yet.

Beheadings posted on the internet?
What savages these people are, we cry.
The warriors are sworn not to forget.
We’ll stay the course. The job’s not finished yet.

Audio file

Listen to this poem — read by Peter Hetherington