This poem was inspired by an interview with Colonel Colm Mangan of the Irish PDF, on his retirement. He told of working with the UN in Sarajevo and of a sniper shooting tow innocent people dead and him being unable to choose which one would live when challenged.
Serb Sniper:“There are two people in the street below. I’m going to shoot one dead. You get to choose which one lives.”
Colonel Colm Mangan: “I cant make that choice”
Narration: both people are shot dead by the sniper
Serb Sniper: “You could have saved one of those people”
Two people walking down a street
As a colonel and a sniper meet
And look at the range beneath
That the sniper can control
“Down there right now are people: two
Which one lives is up to you”
The colonel did not know what to do
As he looked into his soul.
So the sniper the choice for him he made
With gunfire, the street below he sprayed
Till both people dead on the street were splayed
And to the colonel he said:
“The choice was yours, you failed to make
For your own conscience sake
So both lives I decided to take
Because of you, both now are dead.
Such things to do are neither right or nice
But when we are made to make a choice
If we don’t, someone else pays the price
That in life is a rule.
Of making mistakes don’t be afraid
The worst choice is the one not made
As each day, those deaths are played
In the cornels mind, of those deaths, so cruel.