They used to count in Millions

They used to count in Millions. The innocent who died
The British shot at Ypres, and the dead the other side.
They used to count in millions. The people Stalin killed.
The victims of the Goulags and the pits their bodies filled.

We used to count in millions. The skulls that Pol Pot left,
And the widows and the children of lower limbs bereft.
We always count in millions, the Jews the Nazis claimed,
The dead and walking wounded, the crippled and the maimed.

We used to count in millions the dead of every war,
And after every million we'd count a million more.
But now we count in hundreds, the dead beneath Jenin
Or maybe only dozens in Jerusalem.

Beneath the crumbling Towers some thousands would be found.
So now we count in thousands. It's progress of a kind.
Lord, keep that progress rolling, that less die than before
Until, your promise keeping, mankind shall die no more.

<<Return to poems