“Being evil is only something that only humans are capable of.” Jane Goodall
Just Following Orders
In 1960 an architect appeared in court in down town Jerusalem charged with crimes against humanity. He was the architect of the Holocaust, his defence was banal, he claimed immunity because he was only following orders.
Who never questions motive? Who believes they are perfect and above the law?And who never effects harm on others? But of those who excelled in following orders, no matter how perverted, Adolf Eichmann stands apart as intentionally evil, and more so because of his claim that he was just following orders. And, so, if all do their duty, they need not fear harm? really? Think slavery. Think Eichman, think Vietnam War, Think Derek Chauvin, think so many.
Our actions always affect others, and where there is evil the effect is always negative. Harm comes to those in the orbit of such people. Just listen to Holocaust survivors.
At dVerse Lisa is hosting poetics with an invitation to flip the meaning of a poem written by self or other, or to write a Diamanté form poem (seven lines) which flips the first word at the end. I have attempted a Diamante form.
“Fierce eagles do not produce timorous doves.” Horace
45c and the road, straighter than straight, rolling beyond what the rusted sign advised. Blues, liquid, twelve bar, driving through this dry land. Paddocks hollow and stricken, rain forsaken for so long now, nothing holds in this dust. Crows picking the eyes out of everything that ceases to move, that cadaver buffet for pall bearers.
The gates blur in fifth, the barbed wire whispers strained songs of lament and I weep as I pass the delusion of hope trying to bale non-existent hay, the sadness of twenty bales to a hundred acres. And I weep for this place where endings complete and there are no obvious beginnings.
I slow as I see the spectre eyeing emaciated sheep. The angel of death eyes me and I nod in deference, better an ending than tortured horizons. I wave my blessing, thankful that the feathered euthanasia will ease the shepherds pain. In this moment the eagle is surgeon, priest and mourner, holding a ritual, taking death for life.
At dVerse Sarah is hosting Poetics with an invitation to share a poem that has called to us, affected us in some way, positively or otherwise, and to write a poem in response. dVerse Poets – Poetics – A Conversation
I have chosen Wilfred Owen’s poem ‘Anthem For Doomed Youth’ and riffed on that a little. I despise war and I see it as a failure of humanity to sit down together. Wilfred Owen fought in the British army in WW1 and died at the age of 25 in 1918 one week before war’s end. For a detailed biography see The Wilfred Owen Association
Anthem For Doomed Youth by Wilfred Owen
What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
- only monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, -
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.
What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.
“Men make war to get attention. All killing is an expression of self-hate.” Alice Walker