“Evil visited us yesterday and we don’t know why.”
— Ron Taylor, the headmaster of a primary school in Dunblane, Scotland, where, in 1996, a madman murdered sixteen children
Because evil is in the mad cell,
Not merely the madman outside the cell,
Because the devil is not
Only in the details but inherent,
We inherit an earth
That shifts constantly beneath us.
Because the golden age is always behind us Like the puppy that followed us home from school,
The childhood we survived is framed In gilt, next to the bronzed baby shoes.
So those sixteen stilled faces,
Having no more past, will not earn
More guilt as the years fall
Over them like tenement shadows.
So the flowers piled like the windrows
Of Jewish dead will evoke only innocence.
The sly suits of importance
Salute them briefly and pass on
To the work of the world,
And that day’s Times is filed and forgotten.