America, America*

Oh, say! Can you see by the dawn’s early light
The tragic result of inalienable right?
The bearing of arms
Causing little but harm
As the ‘civilised’ world attempts to stay calm
And beneath its breath whispers
‘We believe this is wrong.’
The endless refrain
Of unedited song,
While publicly silent upon the world stage
For fear of igniting political rage.
No heed for objections, the quieter voice:
It seems our cousins won’t consider the Choice.
The young and the vulnerable
Learn they’re not culpable
Acquiring the drill
That shooting to kill
Surpasses the Word,
The idea of negotiating
Simply absurd-
And yet
When it happens
That lives are cut short
And grief overflows
At the tragedy wrought
How many are united
In quiet reflection
On the world-stage-scale question
Of armed protection?


*Republished in the aftermath of the Orlando shootings and the murder of Jo Cox MP in Britain






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