“People do.”



The church rang out a passing toll,

A toll which rose to sixty-two.

He says, “Guns don’t kill people:

People do.”


He pats your head, and soothing all

Disquiet, bids the beasts adieu.

But monsters don’t eat people:

People do.


The curtains sigh. The nightlight fades,

Whilst something’s keeping watch on you.

But shadows don’t lurk under beds.

Their secrets do.


A mirror glimpse reveals the shades

Who seek you with an evil eye.

But mirrors don’t steal souls:

It’s we, who try.


You dreamt of gunshot, in the thrall

Of midnight: and its rings for you.

And people don’t kill people:

We just die.



I always found the adage, “Guns don’t kill people, people do,” cold comfort. You know what saves people? Firearms regulation. 




2 thoughts on ““People do.”

  1. Dear James I’ve read this, five times, twice aloud. It’s good, isn’t it? Gerald and I have been discussing it and both think it sounds well, and juxtaposition of one line then the opposite In the next is skilfully done. Our Compliments on the techniques and ideas. Very pertinent any time. Now I shall read it to Gerald again.

    I am so lucky to have a poet grandson and to have new poems arriving regularly. What a gift you are giving us.

    Happy Christmastide! Your card and message arrived today, thanks! Much love from us both, Gran

    Sent from my iPad


    • I am so glad that you enjoyed it, and are reading it aloud: the best way to enjoy poetry. And I am also pleased that the card arrived safely! Lots of love to you both xxx

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