Darkness at Daybreak
Clara H. Martin, 2012
They come at the most unexpected times
but usually in the early dawn
wearing broad-lapelled overcoats
and hats that descend to their ears.
They tend not to smile but if they do
you would prefer that they scowl.
So I remember the men of the shadows
in the films of yesteryear
breaking lives, scarring them forever
working for a cause
they did not believe in
The pattern is by now well known:
tanks to the front
arrests to the rear
tactical subterfuge here
strategic ploy there
and chaos everywhere.
In a world where lie and deceit attain new heights
the men of the shadows
are enjoying a growth industry:
an innovating one
with cybernetics and drones
their new toys.
Yet this is also a profession
that takes pride in tradition:
herding dissidents into stadiums
forcing confessions from the lips of the innocent
disappearing the opposition from helicopters,
shooting the people’s enemies on the spot.
And pretending not to be doing what they are doing
like a kid pleading innocence in a candy bar,
claiming the need for humanitarian intervention
in a conflict of their making
posing as peace makers
in a war of their creation.
All this in name of another would-be master race
striving for purity, greatness and domination.
A project with a short, perhaps, medium-term future
whose instigators will end up sorely diminished
their country much less of anything at all
but not before they reap havoc both near and far.
This will sow tragedy for a great culture and civilisation
– as has happened many times before –
its people still do not know
their place at home
let alone their role in the world
eventually they will, but not soon nor easily.
Doubt and Antidote