Gassing Beliefs at the Pedestrian Crossing
“I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas . . . I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes. The moral effect should be so good . . . and would spread a lively terror.” (Winston Churchill, 1919, presiding over the British Air Council)
Old Palestinian shuffles slowly across road
aided by his stick.
Mortality snags me through the windscreen —
I clutch the steering-wheel, eyes squinting the future.
Engines idle time
counting down incessantly, fuming with urgency.
Is he a world to be conquered?
The car behind toots impatiently —
window wound down
driver blows smoke at the wind’s leisure; flicks ash.
Ahead, a flock of starlings swarms in classic unity,
a movement of music
ethereally painted on the backdrop of a grey sky.
Two scavenging dogs sniff odd smells amidst the traffic
then fight for a bone. Increasingly lost to an obscure world
paradise questions progress,
poverty cross-examines plenty.
Each moment rests in unique potential
anticipating, hovering —
every electron, every drop of water, every human — sacred:
but God is on holiday
and scared we stumble in a foggy muddle
by and by.