The ravenous are out recruiting;
rays of ultra-violence are hard
to screen. It seems that everywhere
we might be social, we elect
instead to scream, call
out the false.
I wonder, though,
would any of us do
or say a hurtful thing if pain
had not first entered
through an open heart?
Would creeping toward temptation
feel so sweet, if I’d not left the salt
that drew you to me in the rain?
Oh, twisted glee—they call you
schadenfreude—your days grow
short. The stones I threw, the feathers
lobbed at me, and all attempts
at cataloguing misery have packed
their trunks and vanished,
they’ve some train to catch—
and I’m not boarding
now the windows
of my heart take in
a truer scenery.
© Elaine Stirling, 2015
Painting by Eric Ravilious (1903-1942)