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The end of the innocence (poem)

When at three a.m

the witching hour brings comfort

as even monsters must find time to rest

when the daylight brings anxious news

and old mangled memories resurface

 

Holocaust, Warsaw, Ukraine, internment

aren’t cautionary tales anymore

Freedom, liberty, rights, justice

are mere fragments of what they used to be

 

But this one did this, and that one said that

bad begets bad begets justification for wrong

and murmurs of revolt and resistance and fighting

civil war – not as a historical reference – begins to churn in our daily speech

 

Seal the borders, close the door, lock all your possessions inside

burn the mosque, chase the bandit, handcuff a child who left fear to find fear in our eyes

chase the shadow, chase your neighbor, run from those who mean to do you harm

who is this person, what is that danger, should I say goodbye to the world as I know it?

 

What is this you ask? what place are we now? What room have we entered into?

Not something new, but the end of an age, something bleak and troublesome 

for those who know the hardship of life

Just like Henley used to sing. In days of summers long passed

This is the end.

This is the end.

This is the end of the innocence.

We are, all of us, guilty now

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