Night In Bethlehem

Since writing this—only a few months ago—it seems even children are butchered in broad daylight. Shame itself is dead, then. Barbarity sees no reason to hide any more.

There's a sickle moon in the lose-yourself sky tonight.
It shines horn-bright. Unheard, it cries
The names of invisible deeds the wise
Will not deny, will not identify.
For to bring obscenity to light
Would undermine the stable
And rock the cradle that lies there.

Yeats's fable has been foully realised,
But still the moon by her scimitar light
Has more to witness of the doings of night,
More to howl down dumbly, more to shudder at.
Meanwhile a citation sits in an empty chair*
And closing of eyes is practised everywhere.

Children in cradles are crying too
Experimentally, still unaware
Of what and when and where and why and who.
That will come when it comes. And one or two
Will blame the moon. Few will name the sight
And find themselves in the cold crying night.

© David Collins 12th December 2010
*Liu Xiaobo was awarded Nobel Peace Prize 10th December 2010.
Because he is imprisoned for his human rights activity in China,
his chair at the ceremony contained only a copy of his citation.