Dark Ages II

School children sing no carols,
herald no prince of peace.
There will be no pageant,

no scandal of angels or a virgin mother,
no pondering the portents of a star.
Remember, there are other gods.

Instead, they sing sea chants,
build models of longboats,
chat carelessly of the marauders

who left Iona a blackened ruin,
the villages of my people
pillaged and strewn with corpses.

And the books! scorned
testament to the slaughter of the innocents,
lying abandoned in dark heaps,

piled like charred parchments
windblown into empty cattle stalls
or washed ashore in the silent night. 

—Bill McConnell, Denver, CO