The Pedagogy of Conflict

III
When I was a child,
I learnt to count to five
one, two, three, four, five.
But these days, I’ve been counting lives, so I count

one life
one life
one life
one life
one life

because each time
is the first time
that that life
has been taken.

Legitimate Target
has sixteen letters
and one
long
abominable
space
between
two
dehumanising
words.

An excerpt of “The Pedagogy of Conflict” from Sorry for Your Troubles by Pádraig Ó Tuama. Copyright © 2013 by Pádraig Ó Tuama. Originally published by Canterbury Press. Used with the permission of the author.

This poem was originally read in the On Being episode “Belonging Creates and Undoes Us.”

Reflections