Tony Walton

Rookie (4 March 1950 / London, England)

The Last Dance - Poem by Tony Walton

They had the temerity to dance at a wedding.
They had the joy and love of dancing and of course
the natural desire to celebrate the wedding
of friends. It was temerity only in the
jaundiced, puritanical, tyrannical and

kill-joy eyes of the scholars, schooled in rage and hate
and zealous adherence to their unholy
interpretation of a book. And for this they killed
the dancers - two women dancing at an Afghan wedding -
along with fifteen other innocent guests.

Or perhaps (it was said) rival killers had argued
over the women. Argued about what? Which way
to kill them in best accordance with their barbarous
beliefs? Which of them had best claim to the kill?
Or something altogether more hypocritical?

And so, after all the deaths on both sides,
to say nothing (as is usually said)
of all those caught in between, like these dancers,
the Taliban have not been defeated,
have not even gone away. It's over.


Poet's Notes about The Poem

Helmand Province, Afghanistan, Sunday 26.8.12

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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 27, 2012

Poem Edited: Tuesday, August 28, 2012


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