Stanza 85


The mullah, overwhelmed by the surprise
Of hearing the marine apologize,
Can not believe the colonel's words he hears.
His rage erupts and in between his tears
The cleric sees the horrid infidel.
Apologies are unacceptable.
In anger he declares, "Do not believe
That your deception ever will achieve
Your sinful goals to dominate the town
And beat the villagers' resistance down.
Before you can appeal for pardon, you
Must demonstrate your willingness to do
And say the things that prove sincerity:
'Besides Allah there is no deity.
Muhammad is God's messenger.' If I
can hear you, colonel, when you testify
To these great truths and thus submit to God,
When after you surrender that vile squad
That killed my son and took his corpse away,
Then we'll discuss forgiveness on that day."