During my sophomore year of high school, Bush was on the hunt for Sadaam Hussein and I was in a poetry class learning iambic pentameter. My use of rhyme and meter was developing along with my political views. Though both were, well, "sophomoric," I still resonate with who I was back then. I remember feeling the dissonance between my faith convictions and the language of war and revenge that I was hearing in the news. "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" did not exactly line up with the rhetoric of smoking terrorists out of their holes. With the killing of Osama bin Laden this week, I remembered a poem that I wrote during that class. As I re-read it, those conflicted feelings rose again and I couldn't shake the sense that, despite our jubilation at a tyrant's death, we are still circling beasts in a cycle of violence...
The bombs rained down o'er Abram's ground,
Intent to kill the beast they found.
When all was ruins the people said,
"The Beast is dead, the Beast is dead!"
Greedy vultures come circling this terrible beast,
where it lies seeming dead, the birds peck at their feast.
But it utters a growl and it opens one eye,
birds of carrion flap back as it roars at the sky.
The lion bounds 'cross shifting sands,
and gloats in power within his lair;
the stealthy jackals come in bands,
their endless ranks surround him there.
Hornets drone round his head day and night without ceasing,
But the beast becomes still, by this enemies appeasing.
So his foes think him dead, on the eve of destruction;
surely beasts like the old will arise to succeed him.
If you're interested, I recommend checking out a good article in Christianity Today this week: "The Death of Osama bin Laden: What Kind of Justice has been Done?"
And another step further, a piece written by a friend at the Oak View Catholic Worker: "Love Your Enemies: Remember That?"