Who’ll Hold Their Hands?


Sometimes an image strikes a cruel blow:
I’ve seen deceit, behind a mask of care,
cut with a lash and lay the senses bare.
A bitter man’s betraying kiss was so;
or those two youngsters caught on video—
ignored by passers-by (not their affair)—
who took a toddler’s hand and led him where
there are dark truths we do not choose to know.

“Hanging’s too good!” “They don’t deserve to live!”
(But whose is the betrayal we recall?)
Did Christ, the friend to thief and fugitive,
greet Judas’ kiss with empathy or gall?
They were our sins and so we can’t forgive:
just ten years old. May God forgive us all.

(Jamie Bulger, aged two, was abducted and killed in Bootle, Merseyside
in 1993 by ten-year-old Jon Venables and Robert Thompson.)

By David Gwilym Anthony