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The Shadow Descends

A poem about the slaughter at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado on Tuesday, April 20, 1999.

Some Appropriate Music

Round and round the apple tree
the children dance
in the summer air, breathing free.
Sharp the steel, keen the lance.

Pretty faces, smiles of joy.
A pink dress, faded blue jeans.
Laughter perfumes the heated air.
The shadows writhe beyond the hedge.

Tuna salad sandwiches in a picnic basket.
Children wrestling on the grass.
Butterflies flutter casually.
Red haired boy kisses gold haired lass.

The shadows loom, stoop, descend.
A terrified face, a shrill scream.
Red blood flows in rivers.
No, this is not a dream.

The shadow departs, having finished.
Weeping, tears, screams pierce the air.
Anguished thrashing of the not-yet-dead,
subsiding at last into icy silence.

All is still now, the children are quiet.
The thirsty ground drinks their blood.
The carrion fowl glide and peck,
glad of the unexpected feast.

The stench of death remains.
The shadow lives on. The light lives on, too.
We must remember those who paid the price.
We must remember, and choose to walk in the light.

Robbie Hatley, 8:56 PM PDT, Thursday, April 22, 1999


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