Not a Yeoman Warder but a butcher in Kunnumpuram, one of Cochin’s Muslim quarters.
Sometimes walking late at night
I stop before a closed butcher shop.
There is a single light in the store
Like the light in which the convict digs his tunnel.
An apron hangs on the hook:
The blood on it smeared into a map
Of the great continents of blood,
The great rivers and oceans of blood.
There are knives that glitter like altars
In a dark church
Where they bring the cripple and the imbecile
To be healed.
There is a wooden block where bones are broken,
Scraped clean– a river dried to its bed
Where I am fed,
Where deep in the night I hear a voice.
“Butcher Shop” by Charles Simic
“To plunder, butcher, steal, these things they misname empire: they make a desolation and they call it peace.”
Tacitus ( 55 AD – 120 AD)