Thursday, November 19, 2015

Playing Dead

image borrowed from

Playing Dead

“Everything you want is on the other side
of fear.”--Jack Canfield

On Friday the 13th, six days ago
in Paris in the Bataclan Theater at a show,
there was the deadliest attack in French history.
with innocents as the quarry, in every single row,

butchered, slaughtered, murdered & callously killed,
while some played dead, lying in pools of blood spilled;
but we are told not to ever do that--
told to run, to scatter like rats, to be strong-willed.

In England, the National Counter-Terrorism Security Office
gives us a survival list to study & second-guess;
escape, run or hide, unless the attackers can see you,
like victims in a city zoo; if so just swallow all the stress,

just realize that you standing in a killing zone
& as the bullets fly, you are really not alone.
So run if you can, play dead if you can not,
for in a trap you are now caught, your fate unknown.

I hope there are swarms & flocks of angels there
too, ready to catch you, to became a heavenly pair
of souls departing, spirituality fierce & aglow,
offering love to absorb blows, life everlasting to share.

Perhaps it’s not helpful, still it is a proven fact,
for every successful attack, a dozen more are sacked.
We must not live our life hearing the threats, feeling Fear,
for the cost of liberty is dear, & safety is never exact.

Glenn Buttkus

We are tasked to write a Florette.


Pleasant Street said...

Wow. Yes I think you have spoken every corner of my mind here, and some. For a long time now living near a big city, I do feel vulnerable every time I go out, especially now with these attacks on the heels of domestic terrorism. But I also waffle back and realize that living in fear is not living either.

For the poem's sake, I really love the flow and rhythm. It feels like a rap or a spoken song, and the rhyme is delicious.

The message is powerful- thank you

Mary said...

Well, really I don't know what works to help one survive in such an attack. What awful carnage in Paris. To try to run away in order to escape or to lie down and pretend dead. I guess in these situations it is the luck of the draw - who lives, who dies. But so true that we cannot live our lives in fear. I heard that ISIS has some kind of a video that seems to threaten NYC. But if we heed all warnings what then does life become?

brudberg said...

I think living becomes a case of spinning the wheel... and yes we are supposed to be afraid I think... we are supposed to hate... I'm mostly sad though... but my cousins are safe and all of those in France I know, there were a couple of colleagues though who where among the dead... I refuse to change my behavior yet.

Victoria said...

It seems we both spoke against the danger of fear, Glenn. I struggle with the balance between cautious fear and paralytic fear. Now I am so aware of the possibility of what could happen...especially when I am in church, since that is another prime target for those who hate Christians. Whether I would run or play dead...I'm not sure. I would like to think that I would be strong enough to protect a young person or a child. Who knows what we do in such a situation?

Bodhirose said...

If we start living with the shadow of fear hanging over our heads we will have succumbed to what the terrorists want. When taken by surprise (which is part of their terror tactics) there's not much you can do to escape. Well done with the form, Glenn. I appreciate how adept and eloquent you are.

Grace said...

I think we must continue to live as normally as before, not in fear, nor in hatred. I can understand the fear of dying in our normal city streets, but at the same time we can't hide.

A timely message Glenn ~ And good work on the form too ~

Sanaa Rizvi said...

Brilliant work on the form :D such a powerful message in your poem.

Kathy Reed said...

You bring us up close where the anguish is personal. I would hate to think there are those who cannot empathize with the victims and their families, who have no compassion or conscience. How sad...not only in France, but here for those affected by 9/11 which was almost 15 years ago but feels like yesterday. The world pours out its heart around the globe..across the oceans, hopefully it will tip the scales the other way..toward peace. Nice going, Glenn.

Anonymous said...

Play dead or run... unimaginable choices...still true for so many people all across the world who are victims of the vicious cycle of war and hate and greed. Really sickening.

Kate Mia said...

At nows like this.. i'm
always reminded
of the old
saying about
changing what
we can and accepting
the rest.. if i am really
afraid of dying.. the
best thing to do
would be to
quit driving...
free is
never free..
the cost is
always moving..
smiles.. in
a travel
yeah.. give
it to me.. or
death.. i guess..
and of course some
cultures live with
the reality of this
stuff daily now..
not just
over a pin
in haystack
of a rural area..:)

Truedessa said...

Glenn, I knew your pen would find the right words to express what so many feel. This has hit home for me as I know someone who lost a life that tragic day. Weeping for those who have gone too soon.

ghostmmnc said...

Such horrible tragedies all over the world these days. We can't just become hermits, afraid to go anywhere, but it sure changes how you feel when you are in public, never knowing what may happen. You voiced the anguish in your poem.

Marina Sofia said...

These lines have a world-weary cynicism which is really successful at rendering the fully horror of the situation:
So run if you can, play dead if you can not,
for in a trap you are now caught, your fate unknown.

Toni Spencer said...

Yes, world weary cynicism - good choice of words. Several years ago, at Virginia Tech, was a horrific shooting by a mentally disturbed young man - 36+. I knew many of the young people and the professors gunned down as many were engineering students. One who survived said she lay still hoping he would pass her by but he shot her in the back just to be sure she was dead - she is paralyzed now but lived inspite of him. I hope we just don't get our vengeance mojo on and forgive and live peace as well as we can.

Nato said...

Moving, so very moving. I am utterly impressed with how you made such a wonderful poem on this tragic event. I applaud you and weep for those involved. There is so much ugliness in the world at times :(

Carol Campbell said...

This touched and empowered me! I lived in a war zone for 4 years and we ran the cycle of these emotions!

Linda Kruschke said...

Excellent treatment of the topic. If we live in fear, then terror has won, and that must never, ever be true. May love and grace prevail in the end. Peace, Linda

kaykuala said...

Sad such episodes can happen. Wonderful write Glenn!


Bryan Ens said...

I've been quite fascinated by the fact that these attacks are designed to terrify and divide...but so often, a sense of unity is achieved instead. So yes, lets not live in fear, but unite in a bond of humanity and compassion!

Sara McNulty said...

Glenn, this is an incredible piece, in its glaring description, and its sense of hope.