School

Me_at_lleisiau_2by SJ Alexanderson17 Dec 2014

The day had dawned and the day was good
And they packed their books and started to walk with their friends to school …
To school with their friends,
And their brothers and sisters and cousins …
And teachers.
Baking hot, at even this hour …
Cracked lips and parched mouths,
Yet still they talked and they sang and they joked as they moved in a throng
Of eagerness
To learn of the world
And of culture and science,
Of good and of bad, of right and of wrong,
In words and in song …
Of religion …
And gods and of prophets.
And the world was a place of hope
And of dreams
Of joy and of infinite possibilities.
For they were the young …
And they … were the future.
In classrooms throughout
As knowledge was shared with the seeds of this land -
A band of pure evil came forth from the dark
To show to the world that today and beyond
A school would provide a platform for hate.
A platform of hate and of filth and of death and despair
As the innocent gave up their lives in a murderous attack
Of total and utter barbarity.
For they did not know as they entered their names
On blank sheets of paper, that that day …
Yes, that day … would be different.

They failed to sign into the visitors’ book,
They didn't care for protocol … why should they –
This was an unexpected, unannounced foray
Into a world of education
Where youthful exuberance was channeled into learning.
But, they had a lesson,
A lesson for the children …
For the children and teachers alike.
They didn't need chalk boards or notes of preparation …
All they needed were the guns and bullets and bombs
That they had brought along with them –
Props for a lesson in life.
And love and hate and life and death and purity and evil …
Shook hands and made acquaintance.
As those who sought to change the world that they lived in
Fell in a hail of unimaginable hatred.
Systematically, classrooms were turned into kill zones
As the blood of the innocents re-coloured the floors
And the screams died away as death – he came down
And looked on in shock at the carnage below …
And said to himself, “No”.
And there, in Peshawar, when the violence had stopped
Lay the hopes of the world bloodied and bowed …
And the tears that were shed we have all heard before …
And we’ll hear them again … and again … and again.