Monday, 21 December 2009

The Shield of Marc Lepine (After Auden's 'The Shield of Achilles')

She looked over his shoulder
For planes and tanks at war,
Pronouncements by dictators
And arbitrary law,
But there on the shining metal
His hands had put instead
A modern family courtroom
As spiritless as lead.

A court bereft of justice, cold and bare,
A place reviled of honour and of truth
Where welfare workers spoke of ‘love’ and ‘care’,
With all the stark naivity of youth
(And no regard for honesty, or proof);
The schizoid Judge in judgement took her time,
Considering no evidence, imagining a crime.

Then out of air a judgement shadow-deep
Declared him guilty, and his children hers;
And all his hard-earned assets hers to reap
Or he would sup in jail, or somewhere worse;
His unbelieving lips could not yet curse
Unless ‘contempt’ be added to his ‘crimes’ –
A tired addendum to these troubled times.

She looked over his shoulder
For vast atrocities;
For Dachau, and for Belsen -
For moral mysteries;
But on the glinting metal
Where these things should have been
She saw by his flickering forge-light
Quite another scene.

A ageing cougar, bondless and alone
Surveyed the wreckage of her fifty years,
Bewept her youth and beauty, long since gone
With eyes beyond the misery of tears,
And felt the chilly clasp of primal fears;
Why would a solvent partner take her on
With all this baggage, and her face undone?

The string of thugs that ploughed her furrow fair
Now lay in jail or under marble cold,
Or in some cell of underclass despair
Consumed by drugs, and prematurely old,
The willing sheep their dealers bought and sold;
Her sons were feral savages, so wild
She cursed the very concept of each child.

She looked over his shoulder
For killers and their crimes,
For Nazis and for Stalinists
In strife-tormented times,
But wide amaze remade her eyes
For on the shining shield
His hands had set stark winter skies,
Above a muddy field.

A savage chav with sharply-shaven head
Surveyed the scene, with predatory eyes;
He longed to find a child, and coax it dead -
Feast deep upon its shrill and frantic cries,
His long, dark drink and sanguinary prize.
His father was a thug he’d never known,
Who’d tried his mother’s bed, and left alone.

The thin-lipped armorer,
Hephaestos, hobbled away,
Thetis of the shining breasts
Cried out in dismay
At what the god had wrought
To grace the cold, hate-strong
Woman-killing hands of Marc Lepine,
Who would not live long.


  1. I hope you live in hell you mother fucker, I wish to god there could be reincarnation.

    1. What's your problem, cocksucker?