The Dead of Ages

entry picture


The dead of ages call to me

Their bodies piled for all to see


wholesale slaughter


butchered, murdered


Dunblane, Beslan


gunmen with some

higher plan

ethnics cleansed and


Sharpesville, Sinjar


we colonise and


decree year zero


in killing fields and

high school dorms

the terror shootings

become the norms

mown down run down

blown to pieces

the endless violence

never ceases



Let their blood and silence words

From wounds the dead cannot be heard


Tutsis, Hutus,

gypsies, Jews

so many lives to

pick and choose

from Middle East

to Enniskillen

Wounded Knee

and Tiananmen

Nazi, Stasi


crimes against all


in ghettos, camps

and cold gulags

we gas, behead

face firing squads

those stolen lives

condemned to die

to fill mass graves

wherein they lie

add famines, plagues

and pandemics

cancer, heartache

natural deaths


We of sin there seems no cure

But save from wrath and make me pure.


words ©Colin Hill 2017

picture Burning In Hell by Anthony Renardo Flake


🌷 (3)

◄ Aime-moi ne m'aime pas

a random collection of people gathered at a crash site ►


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Colin Hill

Sun 19th Feb 2017 09:32

thanks JC

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J Cole

Sat 18th Feb 2017 16:26

Great flow

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Colin Hill

Sat 18th Feb 2017 08:55

thanks for the link David and for the lyrics elP. I like to cling to the hope that one day good will triumph over evil although when that day might be... And you're right there David, about hymns and all things Biblical being sources of inspiration. I did a take on We Plough the Fields and Scatter a while back but, as a non-believer, it sometimes strikes me as an odd source to plunder. I guess it's unavoidable, or too easy, or too ingrained. Thanks both, your input is valued.

Harry, the word 'sin' seems to have lost all relevance nowadays despite the depth of meaning that has been applied / implied to the word by so many. Like all of these phrases - crimes against humanity, genocide - we as a people have become inured to the horrors despite the continued repetition throughout history to this present day. But one thing's for sure - man has an insatiable urge to kill his fellow man and all the living things around him for that matter. I'm sure the Bible has an answer for this but I sure as hell do not. I'm afraid I don't believe in any divine intervention (sorry Raj) - it's up to us to make this work and there's a long way to go. many thanks for your thoughts. As you say, makes one think.

All the best

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Fri 17th Feb 2017 22:45

Wow, Colin..I haven't read a piece like this for a while. It's a sensation I'm reluctant to describe, but it's like a stinging heat spreading over my skin at the reading--some mixture of anger, sadness, and re-lived shock at learning of human suffering--and at the last lines, the sting of tears welling.

On wrath..personally, I'm unable to deny that it may have its place, though I also cannot deny its ability to consume--and anyone who has felt it knows the latter to be true. It's an emotion with which it is extremely hard to come to terms.

A very stark and strong presentation..


this from the link David provided..the statement was too powerful for me omit...

"the only thing worse
than original sin
is the knowledge
that the badguys always
badguys always win"

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Harry O'Neill

Fri 17th Feb 2017 22:07

It seems strange to hear the word `sin` in connection with this kind of stuff these modern days. Particularly as all
this kind of stuff is the most obvious `bang in the face` fact about human history up to - and including - the present day.

Christians go mouthing on about it (including their own) ad
nauseam....(mind they usually put the word `original` in front of predisposing generality for the subsequent `choice` kind they reckon that`s all our own)

Makes one think.

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Wolfgar Miere

Fri 17th Feb 2017 21:10

All I might add is this.

Hymns are great sources of inspiration, as is almost anything biblical. Laura recently dissected Jerusalem rather wonderfully.


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Colin Hill

Fri 17th Feb 2017 19:44

thank you gentlemen for reading, commenting and offering such individual interpretations. There was no real agenda behind writing this, no anti this or pro that but it did throw up some interesting dilemmas during my research. Should I include examples for all races / religions / cultures / continents? How far back in time should I travel? What about all the other things that kill us - sharks, plane crashes, incoming meteorites. In the end I plucked out those that I had some knowledge of as it soon became apparent there was a plethora of options. Wikipedia has some interesting lists of massacres and genocides to which there appears no end to our desire for putting each other to death in some grizzly way or another.

I have often wondered at the unimaginable numbers of humans that have died since the dawn of time and as a child might say, Heaven must be an awful crowded place, or Hell, or neither, depending. Sometimes it feels we have all those dead within us in some way, perhaps locked in our DNA or collective subconscious. Should we feel a responsibility for the past as we supposedly do for the future?

I'm not sure if it was apparent but the italicised lines were a take on the hymn Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me which for some reason had been rolling round my head. One of my favourite poets is Paul Dehn who did his own take back in the sixties. Apologies if I have quoted this before:

Rock of ages cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in thee.
While the bombers thunder past,
Shelter me from burn and blast;
And though I know all men are brothers
Let the fallout fall on others.

Just to be critical of my own poem, I have to admit I'm not entirely satisfied with the second of the main verses but hey ho it was getting depressing hanging out with all those dead people and I was ready to let them go.

I wouldn't have put you down as a Moby fan Graham but the thought of you reading this out loud to his music made me smile, a lot. How did it read for you? It feels a bit clunky in places, I'd be interested to know. Moby's latest hasn't received overwhelmingly good reviews?

Once again, thanks all very much and I hope my wafflings have touched upon each of your comments in some way.


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mr james bowness

Fri 17th Feb 2017 19:07

great poem. makes you think why the hell do we live on this planet, but then again we can't get off it.........yet.

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Wolfgar Miere

Fri 17th Feb 2017 18:13

Hi Colin,

It's an interesting piece, both provocative and questioning. Although the question is left unasked offering the reader to formulate his own, I like that.

I went through the list of atrocities you listed, some of which I was unfortunately close to. It struck me how many of them were born in the fires of political discord, and how we conveniently often blame religious perversions for their manifestations. That said, I believe man created his own Gods, so it isn't conveniently straight forward.

Either way it seems to me mankind is responsible for his acts of annihilation, he then ultimately chooses who or what to blame it on.

Then, as your closing words suggest, he often seeks redemption from the very Gods he created to enable his great acts of inhumanity.

Mankind needs his plagues.


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Paul Waring

Fri 17th Feb 2017 17:50

Col, an incredibly powerful, detailed, almost chilling commentary/history of some of mankind's darkest moments.

I love the style of the piece. Further to Graham's reference to Moby, I can imagine Public Enemy (or myself 😜) rapping these words.

An absolutely excellent piece of work.


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Graham Sherwood

Fri 17th Feb 2017 17:21

Colin I've just been listening to the new Moby album and reading this out loud with that as a backing is a perfect match.

I could hear you snarl while you were writing this.

Good work as usual.


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Raj Ferds

Fri 17th Feb 2017 17:11

A wonderful ode to Planet Pathetic. A world crying out for healing, cleansing.

Colin this piece does a wonderful job of raising the awareness of man's inhumanity to man.
But hey, count on divine intervention to pour purity across the continents.


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ken eaton-dykes

Fri 17th Feb 2017 16:18

A stark succinct summary of lifestyle on this abused planet

Well done

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Aharon Shamaiwan

Fri 17th Feb 2017 15:00

Great poem! This is relevant to what is going on today in USA.

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