VICTIMS by Barrie Purnell

Barrie’s response to the trigger ‘Surreal’.


I looked upon the scene unfolding

Which filled me with a deep foreboding

The fetid swamp is swathed in mist

In which large serpents turn and twist

Then through the slime and grey green moss

Emerged a gigantic wooden cross

Around the cross in ordered spaces

Stood winged creatures with spectral faces

One held out its arms in supplication

Like an angel at Christ’s transfiguration

As it drew closer I could see

Empty sockets where its eyes should be

And from its mouth blood dripped down

Staining red its snow white gown

A serpent its right arm adorns

And on its head a crown of thorns


Although I was engulfed by fear

I could not move as it drew near

I tried hard my terror to disguise

As I stared into its sightless eyes

It spoke no words but its head inclined

And words were forming in my mind

You have been chosen and brought to this place

To answer for the sins of the human race

We here have suffered grief and pain

For actions carried out in your name

You will listen to our accusations

And to your victim’s condemnations

Then the creatures came forward one by one

To tell me of the things I’d done


I am a victim of your war

You sent the smart bomb to my door

Exploding without warning killing me

My mother and my family

You dined with friends as they blew out my brains

You drank a fine claret as my blood filled the drains

I am looking forward to your agony

As payment for your tyranny


I am a victim of your pollution

I died slowly waiting for your solution

Profits have to be made we were told

The price you pay will be not getting old

You sat on your yacht while I breathed in your dust

Your conscience was clear in your scientists you trust

I am looking forward to your death

And the hollow rattle of your last breath


I was a victim of your racist abuse

Dying in the sun at the end of a noose

You said I’d be safe that was the law

All men are equal that’s why we fought the war

You sat in the chamber where these laws were made

But enforcement was left to the men that you paid

I am looking forward to your execution

I have waited too long for retribution


I am a victim of your rape and your lust

By your army sent to rescue the just

I am just one of many this happened to

You say tough that’s just what soldiers do

You knew but ignored my suffering and pain

Saying they let you live so you shouldn’t complain

I am looking forward to hear you cry

To your god for him to let you die


I am a victim of your gluttony

You left me to die in agony

I starved beneath the Somalian sky

It took me thirteen years to die

But you gave your conscience absolution

With a ten pound charity contribution

I am looking forward to your suffering

And to watch you slowly perishing


I am a victim of your greed

Taking what you want not what you need

I worked in your factory fourteen hours a day

For less than one whole dollars pay

On the back of my work and poverty

You lived a life of ostentatious luxury

I look forward to your pleas for clemency

I’ll show the same compassion that you showed me


The sky turned from indigo to black

I saw the lightening flash and heard the thunder crack

Suddenly a laser shaft of light

Lit up the cross and its acolytes

And then a golden child appears

Above the cross weeping bloodstained tears

I’m crying for humankind it said

As golden vultures circled round its head

I gave you beauty and purity

You repaid me with discord and immorality

I gave you love and honesty

You repaid me with hate and duplicity

I gave you many chances for redemption

You ignored them all without exception

Your love of celebrity and self

Your obsession with creating wealth

Blinded you to virtue and morality

You are now face to face with your mortality

You have heard your victim’s condemnation

They are here to exact retaliation

You must have known come judgement day

Someone was going to have to pay

There will be no pleas or benediction

They are here to see your crucifixion


With that the faceless creatures came

Surrounding me and chanting my name

Then the golden vultures all flew in

Ripping off my clothes and tearing at my skin

And then my naked bloodstained form

Spread-eagled in a cruciform

Was forced against the crosses wooden rails

And in one creatures hand were golden nails

There was no doubt these nails would fix

My bleeding body to this crucifix

The hammer fell the nails drove in

Smashing through my bone and skin

The creatures melted back into the air

Leaving me just hanging there

Reflecting on those we promised to protect

Who perished due to our neglect

Alone without my God without a friend

Realising this is how my life would end


2 thoughts on “VICTIMS by Barrie Purnell

  1. Wow! Where did that come from? This poem says it all! And it does it in spades! How do you follow that? A white hot literary smorgasbord of mans inhumanity to man!

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