That Monstrous Country (a poem)

Tomorrow, we will be celebrating the feast of the Epiphany—the revelation of God’s love to all nations. On this day in particular, we remember the Magi who journeyed to Bethlehem 2,000 years ago. Tradition has it they came from Persia, an ancient land with a proud and beautiful culture. Now, our so-called president is threatening war with Persia. He is threatening to destroy those cultural sites. He has already murdered a leading general, a man who was fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria and who supported independence movements in Palestine and Lebanon. I am heartsick. This general is being branded a terrorist, a cruel man, a monster. Well—he was a soldier. I’m sure he was a killer. But a monster?

Two years ago, I wrote a poem about monsters and monstrosities. I’ve posted it already to my livejournal. Here it is. I pray for peace, freedom, and justice for all people. More than justice, I pray for God’s mercy and love. We need mercy very badly.

God bless Australia, too. I am so, so sad about the fires.

Here is the poem.

That Monstrous Country


That monstrous country where I lived

when I was a child,

where everybody looked like me;

that monstrous country

where we played cowboys and Indians,

and the Indians were fierce warriors,

and the cowboys rode over the hill

to save us;

that monstrous country

where the good guys always won,

and the bad guys died peacefully,

tumbling down like leaves

and lying still;

no blood, no shattered bones;

that monstrous country

where we knew who the good guys were

because they looked like us—


that monstrous country

is still with us.

 The wounds are bloody now.




Mary Johnson, 2017