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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

baroque composers.


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



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