A moment of death teaches life
A moment of death, haloed with gold
As if splendour shrouded them
Rained upon them
Or was death indeed beautiful?
A moment of death- that’s what it was
Frozen, a second gone by
And suddenly we saw orphan tears
And suddenly we heard widowed wails
And suddenly, in that travelling trickle of blood
We saw the birth of revenge,
Her gaping smile,
Trailing suppressed memories, entrenched dreams,
to meet at her crimson pool.
And suddenly we felt the spirit surging upwards through our throats
Clambering for escape
as the world darkened upon us
Choking or flying? In our haze we didn’t know
eyeballs beckoning upwards: we saw actions, wishes, whims cut off
gracefully. The rope fell.
It was the end of the race.
And suddenly. Whilst shock stood us still
amidst the rubble. Whilst she kept us strong
as the emotions slapped
Raw. Whilst she pushed our faces to the surface, to gasp, to breathe
In that moment of death
We learnt life.
The above image seems surreal, but it is real. Captured by journalist Tracy Shelton in Aleppo, Syria in September 2012. You can see that the men are still standing in their normal positions as the assault came upon them, wiping them out within a second. It was that image which led to this poem.