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May 05, 2005

The Soul of the Murdered Girl.

Commander Salamander brought this to my attention. In turn, this comes from Michael Yon, an embed with the Stryker Brigade. Cassandra of Villainous Company weighs in from a different angle.

Picture released by the U.S. Army Tuesday, May 3, 2005 shows a U.S. Army soldier comforting a child fatally wounded in a car bomb blast in Mosul, 360 km (225 miles) northwest of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, May 2, 2005. 15 Iraqis were wounded in the combined suicide bomb attack. (AP Photo/U.S. Army)

It brought to mind this poem, from WWI, by Herbert Read. While the imagery is Christian, the author British, and the location France - it's not hard to fit the little girl in the picture into the poem, with no disrespect intended to her, or to her faith.

Major Bieger - my heart goes out to you, too.

Wahabism Delenda Est!

I speak not from my pallid lips
but from these wounds.
Red lips that cannot tell
a credible tale.
In a world of martyred men
these lips renounce their ravage:
The wounds of France
roused their fresh and fluid voices.
War has victims beyond the bands
bonded to slaughter. War moves with armoured wheels
across the quivering flesh and patient limbs
of all life's labile fronds.
France was the garden I live in.
Amid these trees, these fields, petals fell
flesh to flesh; I was a wilder flower/
Open and innocent. So is the heart
Laid virgin to my voice. I filled
your vacant ventricles with dreams
with immortal hopes and aspirations that exalt
the flesh to passion, to love and hate.
Child-radiance then is clouded, the light
that floods the mind is hot with blood
pulse beats to the vibrant battle-cry
the limbs are burnt with action.
This heart had not lost its innocence so soon
but for the coming of that day when men
speaking a strange tongue, wearing strange clothes
armed, flashing with harness and spurs
carrying rifles, lances or spears
followed by rumbling waggons, shrouded guns
passed through the village in endless procession
swift, grim, scornful, exulting.
You had not lost your innocence so soon
but for the going of men from the village
your father gone, your brother
only the old left, and the very young
the women sad, the houses shuttered
suspense of school, even of play
the eager search for news, the air
of universal doubt, and then the knowledge
that the wavering line of battle now was fixed
beyond this home. The soil was tilled
for visionary hate.
Four years was time enough
for such a seedling hate to grow
sullen, close, intent;
To wait and wonder
but to abate
no fervour in the slow passage of despair.
The mind grew tense.
My mind flesh was caught
in the cog and gear of hate.
I lay coiled, the spring
of all your intricate design.
You served me well. But still I swear
Christ was my only King.
France was your Motherland:
To her you gave your life and limbs.
I gave these hands and gave these arms
I gave my head of raveled hair.
You gave your sweet round breasts
like Agatha who was your Saint.
Mary Aegyptiaca
is the pattern of my greatest loss.
To whom in nakedness and want
God sent a holy man.
Who clothed her, shrived her, gave her peace
before her spirit left the earth.
My sacrifice was made to gain
the secrets of these hostile men.
I hover round your fameless features
barred from Heaven by light electric.
All men who find these mauled remains
will pray to Mary for your swift release.
The cry that left your dying lips
was heard by God.
I died for France.
A bright mantle fell across your bleeding limbs.
Your face averted shone with sacred fire.
So be content. In this war
many men have perished not blessed
with faith in a cause, a country or a God
not less martyrs than Herod's Victims, Ursula's Virgins
or any massed innocents massacred.
Such men give themselves not to their God but to their fate
die thinking the face of God not love but hate.
Those who die for a cause die comforted and coy;
believing their cause God's cause they die with joy.