A big bearded 20-something who
Is the loudest in the room
Is eating hummus and saying: “The oppressed demand a permanent revolution
“They must have blood!
“Kill the fascists!”
(At some point it emerges from the conversation
That he is studying for the priesthood.)
And it occurs to me that
Young people are rather like other sorts of people, in so much as
When the chips are down
What they really mean by justice is a sort
Of prodding at the caged animals
From a position of safety outside the bars; they are
Far more likely to organize for the pleasure
Of baiting the captives
Than for the duty of setting them free –
More than that:
Put a fellow creature down in front of them
And give him a few paces’ head start
And they are likely to chase after –
Just to see him run.
Full of self-awareness about
The sins of other selves
Wracked with guilt for what
They view as others’ wrongs
They are meanwhile perfectly oblivious
Of their own and many faults –
I guess they’re a lot like adults.
Being a young person myself, I know
A bit of what sets them ticking:
Having not yet been kicked by cruelty themselves
They are happy to do the kicking.