To you who explode your bodies
To destroy those you hate
Littering the earth with blackened flesh and broken glass,
How did you reach this horrific place
Where no other choices existed?
You sad children, tutored
That this was the only way —
How much despair has driven
Elders now to rejoice,
To call your death a victory?

We weep for these lives cut off
thinking cruelty can purify —
Oh, children, all our children
What if the glorious virgins, the shining splendor
Of your deeds
Are only an idea, and no part of reality?
What if there is nothing left but
Torn limbs in the bleeding earth.
No trumpets sounding, no glory
Only the darkness of death and nothingness.
Surely the God of all the peoples
Wants more for you.
Oh, children, all our children,
May peace lie upon your ashes
Die no more.

by Roger M. Altenberg © 2003