Chris Williams

Walking Away

Some More Guilt

                                                                     I
                                                                When I was young
                                                                I had a friend
                                                                who liked to cook snails.

                                                                Not to eat,
                                                                just for fun.

                                                                He'd set up little fires,
                                                                outdoors,
                                                                and then construct pathways,
                                                                over and into them.

                                                                He'd put snails onto these pathways
                                                                and encourage them forwards,
                                                                into the fire.
                                                                He liked to hear them crackling.

                                                                He didn't like slugs though,
                                                                he'd just stamp on them.

                                                                I never saw him do it;
                                                                only listened when he told the tale.
                                                                It made me feel uncomfortable;
                                                                I don't remember if I laughed along.

                                                                     II
                                                                When I was in school
                                                                there was a lake in the school grounds.
                                                                In this lake there were frogs.
                                                                Every spring they'd come down the mountain
                                                                to mate and spawn.
                                                                Other children used to capture them,
                                                                stamp on them,
                                                                stone them.
                                                                There'd be flat frogs all over.

                                                                I hated it.
                                                                I never said.

                                                                     III
                                                                When I was on holiday
                                                                with my friends,
                                                                we went to a beach.
                                                                There were lots of crabs.
                                                                My friends found two big ones.
                                                                They built a circle of stones,
                                                                an arena,
                                                                and put the crabs in it,
                                                                for them to fight.

                                                                I walked away.

                                                                Later they told me,
                                                                the crabs hadn't wanted to fight,
                                                                they kept trying to hide.
                                                                The crabs went the same way
                                                                as the frogs.

                                                                In the evening
                                                                we laughed
                                                                over the history of torture book
                                                                one of us had.

                                                                     IV
                                                                Incidents...
                                                                More incidents...
                                                                Ever more incidents...

                                                                     V
                                                                And now I sit,
                                                                watching in awe,
                                                                as Serbians march to oust Milosevic
                                                                in the face of truncheons, tear-gas and bullets.

                                                                And I know that I wouldn't have been one of them,
                                                                No matter how much I agreed with them.
                                                                I'd have walked away.

                                                                These are some of the things I live with,
                                                                the failures to act.
                                                                They stay with me,
                                                                but not all the time,
b                                                                ecause I still walk away;

                                                                I walk away in my mind.


A very short poem by Chris is on Hear a Poem
Chris Williams is not really a Giant Ant Person
Read M.I.S.T.
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