After the suicide attack at a pop concert in Manchester this week, I struggled to find any words that would manage to express my stunned horror at what had been done in the name of religion. To target teenage girls and children in this way seems to many to be sub-human, to go beyond what we can attempt to understand or even imagine.
Waking up on Tuesday morning to the news of so many injured and dead… It was like finding oneself in a nightmare that never ends. Although many stress the community spirit unleashed in Manchester immediately after the bombing, and urge for love to conquer hate, there seems to be no end in sight to such terrorism… only the promise of worse to come. Is there any solution possible? Is there anything we can do, as individuals, that will change anything? Or do we just have to do our best in our own ways to cope with our grief and anger, and the threat of another terrorist attack? I believe that the power of the internet can be a powerful force for good, and that citizens of the world acting together can achieve a great deal, perhaps more potentially than individuals within nations and their governments can. But how to harness that power?
Here’s a poem I wrote several years ago that tried to express some of my thoughts on the ever-present threat of terrorism. It seems particularly relevant this week.
MONSTER ON THE LOOSE
By Jennie Ensor
It will bite into your flesh
as you would bite into an apple.
Its breath will burn off your hair.
Its claws will rip off arms and legs
poke out eyes and steal your heart.
Its roar will turn your guts to jelly.
It doesn’t care about colour, size, shape
or what time you go to bed –
it is hungry for everyone.
Children and babies are best –
they’re easily broken. The old are crunchy
but don’t scream so loudly.
The monster can strike at any time.
It can take on different forms.
It will seem like one of us –
the woman lugging Sainsbury’s bags
or the guy sitting next to you on the bus
tapping into his iPhone.
Some say we must get rid of it.
Some say we must do what it wants.
Some ask: Why does it hate us so much?
Others say there’s nothing we can do –
no matter how many it slays
the monster will never be satisfied.
Try not to be scared. Never think:
Will I be next? You must carry on
as always, pretend it’s not there.