Monday, December 26, 2016

History and Memory

(What historical event is alive in our memory, shaping who we are and what we do?)


The murder of our president,
John FitzGerald Kennedy, in the open car in Dallas; 
The shot when I was 13, praying— 
Somehow praying that the world would actually repair itself
Around that hole in our society, in the fabric of government 
Which we thought was going to be about the people;  of the people 
by the people, 
Not by murderers and thugs, 
Not by someone who actually IS one of the people;
Like what happened in Auschwitz, when Elie Wiesel spoke of them hanging the golden boy,
(How could they hang an innocent child? )  And not just that one child:
How could we hold in our minds the gas chambers, and all those women and children,
Rabbis and mothers and fathers; singing hymns on the cattle cars
Moving them to an actual hell-on-earth. 

How do we bear it, and what can we do to heal it?
We who live now, aware as past generations may not have been,
So vividly taught in real-time photography of the beheadings in Syria, 
Unreasonable, merciless, 
How can they think God will ever forgive them?
Women being stoned to death,  
Women raped and gang-raped, 
Sheep and goats raped, and men being crucified,
And blood pouring into the rivers;  human blood, not even meant as sacrifice,
But just slaughter.
Power;  the arms, the bombs, the weapons, to kill

the ‘might makes right’ belief of the tribes.  

The president was killed, is dead; 
We still speculate about how and why,
And it is not Camelot.  
No one has ever really felt safe since then, 
Certainly not anyone that passionate about justice.