Out of the Night


We saw your death—they showed it on TV—
and had revenge if vengeance was our goal.
You thanked the Gods, whatever Gods may be,
and spoke of your unconquerable soul.
We shared a God—no, not the one whose whole
existence was compassionate, who tried
by promising redemption to console
his wayward children, and was crucified.
We chose your sterner Deity as guide,
with ancient tribal precepts and a sword.
Though Hope and Charity did not abide,
Faith lived when our uncompromising Lord—
not often merciful but always just—
demanded eye for eye and dust for dust.

(Timothy McVeigh, called the Oklahoma Bomber, who
chose Henley’s “Invictus” as his epitaph)

On the Suicide of a Friend Time