American reporter about to be beheaded by ISIS‘One Afternoon’ by Paul Freeman The Society April 19, 2022 Culture, Poetry, Terrorism 8 Comments . One Afternoon One hot Arabian afternoon a boom reverberated through my flat and woke my napping wife and children; in each room the windows shook, but not so much they broke. Two cars with insurrectionists aboard had tried to breach the oil field’s back gate and when they failed, the bombs they carried roared and sent the guards and them to meet their fate. What blinds a man to purge another’s life? What deity would sanction such an act? Removing heads from shoulders with a knife is making an eternal Devil’s pact. That day, those months, those years insurgents filled our hearts with fear are gone, but never stilled. . . Paul A. Freeman is the author of Rumours of Ophir, a crime novel which was taught in Zimbabwean high schools and has been translated into German. In addition to having two novels, a children’s book and an 18,000-word narrative poem (Robin Hood and Friar Tuck: Zombie Killers!) commercially published, Paul is the author of hundreds of published short stories, poems and articles. NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets. NOTE TO POETS: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to email@example.com. Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here. CODEC News:Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 8 Responses Brian Yapko April 19, 2022 Paul, I can’t even imagine the horror of what this must have been like. It’s difficult to imagine using a sonnet form for such a horrific subject but it works perfectly to place boundaries around a subject that would otherwise be unbearable. As for the subject itself, the barbarism you detail makes me sick and angry. I well remember the bloodthirsty murder of the journalist Daniel Pearl, not to mention countless other acts of murder and destruction. Yet few will call out the violence of jihadists and their sick willingness to destroy lives and civilization itself. This is a brave poem. Reply Paul Freeman April 20, 2022 Thanks for reading, and for the comments, Brian. I’ve been wanting to relate some of what happened happened in Saudi, in the early to mid 2000s. They were scary times. Reply Cheryl Corey April 19, 2022 Paul, this poem is very timely. I just read an item about how the new ISIS leader has declared a global offensive to avenge the death of the previous leader that we killed back in February. He’s calling for attacks against Europe and Israel while “crusaders” fight each other, to take advantage of our distraction over Ukraine. With an up-tick in violence by Palestinian militants, N Korea testing rockets, and China’s push for hegemony, we’re seeing a world on fire – all because the US doesn’t have strong leadership. Reply Paul Freeman April 20, 2022 Thanks for reading, Cheryl. You’re right. This really is a bewildering time we’re living through. Reply Margaret Coats April 19, 2022 A very powerful poem, Paul, and beautifully constructed. The octave gives the title event: first quatrain, family shock; second quatrain, news report explaining it. After the turn, the third quatrain provides strong defining reflections as question and answer. The final couplet expands time from the “One Afternoon” title, showing the indefinite extent of terror as long as it could possibly repeat, and in the final line, still longer in the hearts of those who experience it. I didn’t think I had a memory like this, but you’ve brought one up: a bomb blast in Lima that took out the local power station when Chinese-backed guerrillas were trying to de-stabilize Alberto Fujimori’s presidency in Peru. Bad things were frequently reported elsewhere, but this was the single one that took place near me in my four months there. Reply Paul Freeman April 20, 2022 Thanks for reading and for commenting, Margaret. It is quite amazing if we trawl through our memories the unlikely and unusual events that lie half forgotten. Reply Jeff Eardley April 19, 2022 Paul, a bone-chilling and very frightening piece. I remember being sickened at all the beheadings and the sickening referral to the perpetrators as “The Beatles.” You may have read of the recent knifing to death of one of our most popular politicians, reminding us all that these maniacs are out there. A powerful and most disturbing read, thank you. Reply Paul Freeman April 20, 2022 Thanks for the comments, Jeff. The murder of David Amess was indeed horrendous, made worse by the fact that he was such a hard-working, old school constituency MP. I read this poem at a writers club meeting and was greeted by shocked silence, the shock maybe more pronounced than it might have been because I usually read out light pieces of prose and verse. Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. Δ This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. 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