English poetry

Poems in English

Does the name toll a bell?

Let them declare Jihad then, let them despair that I
Will speak the truth as I see it, and where that truth bears
Brutally on their lies I will have applied my brand of terrorism as
Desperately as they do theirs. Abu Bakar Bashir,
Does the name toll a bell? It tolls in Hell for Bashir,
A sonorous ringing, a triumphant chime of evil over reason.
The lunatic cleric is released from prison after serving his
Token sentence for monstrous crimes; Bashir entrained the hatred
Which motivated bombers in Bali, he didn’t set the explosives
Which destroyed innocent lives, he merely told the inhuman lies
Disguised as an Imam’s teachings, declaring all justified
In the context of Koranic readings. Allah decreed it, he cried;
Muhammad recalled the words God gave him in a vision and the scribe,
Who wrote them into the sacred book a mere century after the great event,
Justified his own interpretations – I merely described the incidents
A little more prosaically, he sighed, when questioned by ancient sceptics.
They aren’t lies as much as extensions of probable facts.
Plus a bit of this and that.
And Bashir uses the same technique, an excuse
To embellish his misuse of the redoubtable text. And Bashir is back
At Ngruki, the religious boarding school where he teaches,
A convicted accessory to murder, a criminal demurring his crime
Returning to preach to the minds of impressionable youth.
For God’s sake, the man is insane! What kind of lunacy is that?
Does this school reek of radical theologies,
Prepare children for glorious but certain death as religious soldiers?
Are their subjects terrorism and the suicide bomb? I am struck dumb!
Perhaps the boarders’ loving parents are not aware of that.

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Poem Does the name toll a bell? - Ivan Donn Carswell