The Sins of the Fathers

The Sins of the Fathers

It wasn’t our hands
Which pressed the button, pulled the lever,
Signed the warrant, wrung the neck,
Or delivered the commands.

It wasn’t our hands
Which pointed the gun, swung the cleaver,
Stiffled a yawn, cleaned the fleck
Of bloodstain off our bands.

No, those were our fathers,
Our monsters, whose surnames we bare –
Names that echo everywhere,
Our shameful brands.

But we are not our fathers,
Despite all that we share.
We carry still their genes, their glands –
But not their hands.

If we had been where they were,
Would we have acted the same ?
Do they run deeper than their name,
Through our hinterlands ?

We’ll never know, though we prefer
To think that we would not have killed.
But we are here, our future in our hands –
Let’s use them now to build.

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