I wish I could believe that holy wars are just bad dreams
beheadings only happen in horrid fairy stories
where virtuous swords flash down in retribution
on unbelievers — Saint George slaying dragons,
Jack ascending his hallowed beanstalk.
That burning mosques or churches only happens
in evil wonderlands; that words of prophets
forecasting the end of days are simply poems
read out in classrooms. That sinners sobbing truths
into confessionals are merely dirges by tithe paying
Little Red Riding Hood waking, her nightmare of that
blood-stained wolf melting into a world of
tinsel and tissue decorations, the sound of sleigh bells
fading like discarded armor and blunt instruments.
The story teller climbing down from his pulpit
grinning and winking. Grandmother in the kitchen
frying the bacon, burning the toast, humming a hymn.
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© Johnmichael Simon