You can kill with guns now. It used to be swords once. You would meet the person, look them in the face. You could see their hair fall with sweat, and watch the look in their eyes as you know, one of you will meet your fate. Your bodies would grow close, you could hear their breath, feel the rise of tension on their skin. You would know them, an extension of their being, their every desire turned to you. One of you would die.
Now, you turn to a person, and you shoot.
There's a landscape littered with poppies. Fresh and clean, these flowers reflect the bloodshed that was once fought. The bodies that would bear bullet wounds. We learn about this fighting, but how many can remember when the start of World War II was? There's probably more that can remember the middle name of Alexander the Great. They teach, but how many learn? It's easier to remember something you know you'll never have to experience.
I meet a man once, who claimed he had been shot three times in the arm. I couldn't say if he was lying, his arm was a stump at the shoulder. He told me how someone had tried to kill him, and missed. I asked him what he thought, about knowing someone wanted him dead. He said he didn't mind, that he had just wished he could have put up a fight.
He reminded me of a knight of old, falling demon to the trust of a comrade. Without his armour, he had no weapon. In the end, all that would be left is words.
When someone struck at you with a sword, you could open your lungs and let your words fly. Some may be in courage, others begging for penance. You would know the words are passing through their ears, slipping into their minds. For a moment they could consider you, consider your words. They would know you. In that split moment they took to consider you could arm yourself, grabbing what you could find. There is the possibility one of you will end up dead.
Now, you see a person out of earshot, and you shoot.
I learnt once, the number of people who died in the Cold War. If someone asked, I couldn't recall that number now. I find it easier to remember how many steps there are up the Aztec's sacrificial temple. I know that if I walk up those steps, I'll be admiring the view. You never know how wars will go these days.
Walking along the street, with cars rushing past, it makes me wonder where they're all going. One of them could have a gun in their boot. They could stop, pull it out, and of shot before I had walked 10 paces. In that time, if that gun had been aimed at me, what was there I could do. I would be dead before I knew what they were doing. I would rather die with a fight than win without attempt.
Take a sword, take two really; one for you and one for your opponent. You could be walking, unknowingly, as a horse draws up to your side. They could strike. Before all this though, you could hear the horse, listen as the hoof beats lessen. You could feel the air as company draws near. You could prepare yourself. They could strike. You could strike back. One you may die.
Now, you come up behind a person, and you shoot.
There's someone out there now, with a gun in their hand. Maybe by now the bullets flying. Soon it will hit the chest. They may never know the person they killed, never really know them. Someway they think it will be better without them. The person that's now lying there, with blood around their chest, they may never have seen their attacker. They never will. One will walk away, one will remain. One may not care, one may not be able to care.
There's a point though, when two swords are grasped in conflict. The metal is only a part of them, joining to the other in a battle of difference. Caught by onlookers, they are watched, neither appearing stronger, neither weaker. In that moment, they are grasped by the same desire, seized by the same need. Perhaps it could be said that they're one, and maybe they are. When all fear is shared, and hope is united, maybe then they really are like one.
There's a siren rushing past. I wonder where it's going; a murder in New York, or a wound in Tokyo? You never know how things travel these days, or how far a bullet can fly. When you look at a sword, you know that it can only go as far as you can and, maybe being closer, is really what we all need?
Now, you turn to a person, and you're dead.