See him laid out on a slab:

Today’s media bonus for an Afghan realm

Holding together in its flimsy bonds of international support.


Around his body, shown in evidence

That we CAN win small victories against an ephemeral foe;

Gather reporters from the international media.


The man’s identity seems proven by his incompleteness,

By the truncated stump of his left leg,

His eyes still staring sightless at his sky.


And how they huddle, the cameras hover in repeated flash !

To send the world, by village word-of-mouth and CNN, one death

Of this Al Qaeda leader; one small credit to the ledger of this war.


So Mullah Dadullah ends his days as just a photo-opportunity,

By each Canon, each Pentax, each Nikon, by each frozen image

To reassure the world: we can prevail ?


In scrambling down the hills of Helmond province, in this war

He wilfully chose to execute, against all kinds of shapeless enemy,

Invoking his god – at the end celebrating death: Allahu Akbar.


I expect his sons or daughters may well mourn one death;

Despite the path he took , hopping on one leg, away from home,

Shod in his single Reebok.



© Geoff Bolton