A Thing of Beauty

Fast train passing fat black cows,

Fields of poppies, fragile in the wind,

Poplars along a meandering river.


In the car the actor closes his eyes,

Memorizing lines

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:

It will never

Pass into nothingness.


A violent noise, much confusion,

A bare-chested man holds a machine gun,

Door to blood and death,

Fires random shots.

The text is forgotten,

Rhymes shattered.

For a short moment so utterly long

The case seems past hope,

A child becomes a doll torn to pieces.

Soldiers jump and tackle

The abysmal messenger.


Now the tumult ceases.

A thing of beauty

What beauty, innocent poet?

Is a joy for ever

For ever is too late.


Ce poème se réfère à une attaque terroriste qui a eu lieu le 21 août 2015 dans le train reliant Amsterdam à Paris. Un acteur se trouvait dans le convoi où l’assaut a été donné.