a Terrible Tableau

Betsy Hughes

In orange jumpsuits, on their bended knees,
grim-faced, the twenty-one await their ends
as victims under Isis’ harsh decrees
and brutal cruelty which it intends.
All dressed in black, the executioners stand
behind the innocents with ready knives.
There is no mercy on this Libyan sand;
beheading is a fate no one survives.
The blood will spill and then will leak its red
into the sea, combining with the brine
to reach far distant shores, with crimson spread
an influential tide incarnadine.
The currents ripple and the waters flow;
beneath the surf there pulls an undertow.

about the author
Betsy Hughes has been bitten by the sonnet bug. She developed her passion for poetry as an undergraduate at Vassar College and as an English teacher for thirty years at The Miami Valley School in Dayton. Her first collection of sonnets entitled Breaking Weather was published by The National Federation of State Poetry Societies in 2014, and she has recently completed the manuscript of another collection, The Indigo Macaw.