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  • Writer's picturePhil

Offspring of Killers and Orphans of Murder

Updated: Sep 8, 2020

Something quite different (for me!) in my blog post today. In yesterday's post I gave mention to local street names which act as a reminder of past events and invasions that have forged the nature of our city and our nation and part of the genetic make-up of much of our population (e.g. Roman Road, Welsh Road, Saxon Road, Dane Road).

If we venture back far enough then every person in the world could be traced back to one (or) many common ancestor(s). I often think that when any of us consider our ancestry that amongst our thousands of direct ancestors there will be some of all creeds and races, some that faced each other on the battle field, some that helped each other and some that did each other and each other's peoples wrong. Basically we are all the result of being descended from people who have shown all aspects- good and bad - of humanity.

In a previous blog I have explored the idea that we are all "children of war", knowing that some of my own direct ancestors played their parts at the Battle of Bosworth, English Civil War, the Napoleonic conflicts, Ypres and the Somme during World War One, World War 2 and many post-war conflicts. This will be the case for most of us.

After watching a rather shallow news event (a short "debate" which seemed to have a "racism" versus "statue toppling" theme !) I today tried my hand at (attempted!) poetry in trying to express my thoughts that people are a bit too keen to put themselves and others into easily packaged categories. Part of the inspiration comes from one of my favourite writers, John Steinbeck, and his short novel "Cannery Row" where he expresses the sentiment of the "saints" and "sinners" being the same people.

So as a bit of a detour from my usual purely Coventry history themes (back to normal next time!) here is my "work", "The offspring of killers and orphans of murder":

We could be sons of slavers

and daughters of slavery,

nephews of cowardice

and nieces of bravery.

We’re many of the stuff

of Viking and Roman,

of Saxon and Norman.

Stuff of all men and yet of no-one.

We’ve white cells and red cells

that flow in our blood

like war’s red and white roses

united for good?

It’s said that from Africa

we’re all drawn and spread

accidents of birth

of all those long dead?

We’re the offspring of killers

and orphans of murder

to find someone to blame

don’t look much further!

There’s an eye for an eye

but thou shalt not kill!

There’s fear of the battle

But also the thrill.

Saints and sinners

Is what we all are!

When judging your neighbour

Don’t look too far!

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