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The slayer and the slain


The knife, high-poised above the stone,

the crowd, the priest, the tribal dream,

the sun in silence, then the scream,

a roar, a prayer, a mother’s groan.


A wooden cross against the sky,

the spear upheld;  at last the doubt:

the thunderclap, the sudden shout,

a soldier’s laugh, a mother’s cry.


The legs drawn back, the flesh is torn,

the head appears between the thighs;

the baby shrieks, the mother sighs,

the slayer and the slain is born.

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