So easy now to judge:
that one was right,
But we were never there
in the narrow trench
or corridor of power.
We never heard the thunder’s fire,
nor found ourselves
strung up upon the wire.
We never had to make that bleak decision
consigning one to death,
another to derision.
Our innocence is born of inexperience,
our wisdom consummated in our ignorance.
And if the clocks turned back,
were we to tread where men,
would we be just as speedy to deride,
or criticise the ones we said once lied?
give generosity of thought
to read the pages history have wrought;
to look with eyes of grace into that time,
to fathom truth and reason
in that jagged, harrowed rhyme.
Then let our lines not ridicule the dead,
for, but for grace,
we might repeat their acts,
yes, but for grace,
we might yet taste their dread.
© Andrew Pratt 2014