Nothing Learned

They gather like an ancestry in the centuries behind us:
the killed by violence, the dead in war,
the "acceptable losses" killed
by custom in self-defense,
by way of correction,
in revenge,
for love of God,
for the glory of the world,
for peace; killed for pride,
lust, envy; anger, covetousness,
gluttony, sloth, and fun.
The strewn carcasses cease to feed even the flies,
the stench passes from them,
the earth folds in the bones
like salt in a batter.

And we have learned nothing.
"Love your enemies,
bless them that curse you,
do good to them that hate you"
it goes on regardless, reasonably:
the always uncompleted symmetry of just reprisal,
the angry word, the boast
of superior righteousness,
hate in Christ's name,
scorn for the dead,
lies for the honor of the nation,
centuries bloodied and dismembered
for ideas, for ideals,
for the love of God!

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