Kevin M. Welsh

ANOTHER TIME… ANOTHER PLACE

If things had been different,
In another time or another place…
Perhaps we may have met…
On a railway station platform…
Or at a crowded bus stop…
Maybe in a long queue…
Or at a public meeting.

Perhaps… we would have
Been hesitant when we first met…
Not being sure of each other.
Perhaps being mistrustful at first.
Just a brief ice breaker…
And then arranging to meet again…
At another time… in another place.

Perhaps… we would have
Visited a coffee bar together …
Or gone to a restaurant for a meal.
To have invited each other home…
And to have met each other’s families.
For our children to have played together…
And developed friendships with one another.

Perhaps… we would have
Gone to the cinema to see a movie…
Or to have played Ten Pin bowling.
To have gone fishing in a boat…
And to have seen some sporting event.
To have been engaged in friendly rivalry…
And to have laughed about it afterwards.

Perhaps… we would have
Shown a mutual respect for each other…
And discussed religion tolerantly.
To have shown interest in each of our cultures…
And to have appreciated one another.
To have felt gladdened in our similarities…
And to have celebrated our differences.

Perhaps… we would have
Been good and loyal friends…
And to have stood up for each other.
To have had shared experiences…
And shared intimate secrets.
To have supported each other…
Through times of adversity.

But… we are not in another time…
And we are not in another place.
We are in this place… here.
And we are in this time… now.
Fate has exerted its force upon us,
And this is war… obscene, inhumane carnage…
Extreme, unmitigated and unmerciful violence.

My Government has used its authority…
‘Used its power’ and sent me to be here.
My Government is not in itself powerful.
It possesses not its own power…
It possesses power only by proxy.
It uses the power of others…
And the power of manipulation and deceit.

We will not visit a coffee bar…
And we will not see a movie together.
We will not respect each other’s differences…
And we will not be friends sharing experiences…
We will not meet again…
Or perhaps we will… maybe.
In another time… another place.

For I am an envoy of my Government.
I act not on my own behalf…
I act only at the behest of my Government.
I am absolved from all moral deficiency…
And my obligations are dutiful.
Hereto… in the name of my Government…
I have a mandate to kill you.

I am the master of your fate…
The emissary to prosecute your demise.
I am the annihilating minister…
The instrument of righteous death.
I am the agent of virtuous destruction…
The herald of dark destiny and oblivion.
I am the unmentionable slayer of aspirations.

I will bring to bear on you upright judgement,
And lead you to view the celestial window.
I will snuff out the flame of your candle…
And obliterate your mortal existence.
I will end your days and transport your soul
To another place… for all of eternity.
Yes! Another time… another place.

May God have mercy on me.