After the bombs…

Military flags, Lichfield Cathedral

This photograph was taken a few years ago in a Cathedral. I forget which one- Lichfield perhaps? Here we see a whole wall of regimental flags, and I was struck by the incongruity. How can these things hang, here? Scattered amongst the flags were memorials to soldiers killed in forgotten wars across the empire, mostly Victorian skirmishes, carried out when we had convinced ourselves that the British Empire was civilising the world, not subjugating it.

Religion and war seem to be such easy bedfellows.

The Prince of Peace must wonder why on earth no one ever listened.

He must wish that the Old Testament, full of all its war mongering, had been lost in the desert. He must wish that the Dead sea scrolls were indeed dead.

Yesterday I wrote of my disquiet in relation to the national celebration of remembrance that will be held throughout the UK.

Today I offer this poem of hope.

 

The fruit of the Spirit is peace…

 

After the rain squalling

And the bombs falling

After the back stabbing

And the tongue lashing

After love is betrayed

And dreams disarrayed

When the knife cuts and slashes

After sackcloth and ashes

Comes the peace

 

After the tumours

And cruel vicious rumours

After bodies broken

And evil words spoken

After guns cease their shooting

Troops no longer jack-booting

With the grave trodden down

And the trees turned brown

Comes peace

 

Even after the failure

Of life-long labour

And after deadlines missed

After the getting pissed

When the pressure’s done mounting

And it’s all over – even the shouting

When the race has been run

In the setting of sun

Comes the peace

 

When anger burns out

After faith turns to doubt

When we give up on walking

And wolf packs are stalking

When the money is spent

Safety curtains are rent

At the end of all coping

Even Pollyanna’s done hoping

Even then

Will fall

My peace

 

From ‘Listing’. Available here.

 

 

 

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