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The Red and the Black
© by Norman MacCaig

We sat up late, talking –
Thinking of the screams of the tortured
And the last silence of starving children,
Seeing the face of bigots and murderers.

Then sleep.

And there was the morning, smiling
In the dance of everything. The collared doves
Guzzled the rowan berries and the sea
Washed in, so gently, so tenderly.
Our neighbours greeted us
With humour and friendliness.

World, why do you do this to us,
Giving us poison with one hand
And the bread of life with another?

And reason sits helpless at its desk,
Adding accounts that never balance,
Finding no excuse for anything.

Submitted by Ruth Baxendale

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