The wind rips through our comfortable homes,
sending our neatly-arranged piles
of life cascading to the ground.
Just as, still not so many years ago,
history swept through this pleasure-sated land,
waking us too soon
from the easy bliss of sleep.
As the wind blows, we remember the passions
that stirred in us before;
and we know again how much we’ve lost,
and how deep the wound still is.
Each one a treasured face, each a living soul,
gone a year already, but never to be forgotten:
waitresses, office clerks, janitors, firemen,
police, stockbrokers, pilots, bus drivers, mechanics,
all now our brothers and sisters, cherished comrades,
bound together in a death too soon and bitter,
bound together, their precious humanity squandered
for this epic evil folly.
For once these voices sang with life
their cherished human songs; now all is quiet,
and an eerie silence descends on us again.
We are bathed in tones of suspicion and fear,
all shadow where sunlight once did play.
But clearer eyes will look ahead, and tell us the glow remains,
and in time we feel that strange warmth in the heart again,
where only emptiness now lies.
Words of hope and promise
ring hallow for a moment;
but then the Spirit enters,
and the grace of memory allows us
to hear their music once again.
May we enter the days that are before us now
not in bombast and bravado,
but gently and quietly,
lest we miss the echo
of those soft returning voices
singing to us still.
May we put aside as much
of our daily business as we can,
so that we might leave some space
for remembering and joining together again,
in sadness and in hope
with those who have gone before us.
We all one day will meet each other
along that sacred bridge of shadows.
In the meantime, may we who remain take up
the work of love and healing.
Properly tended, our garden might yet yield
the fruits of justice;
new cities that shine with civic virtue
might still emerge from out these bloodied ruins;
and all the world’s children might yet sing
lilting, lovely songs, as they taste at last
the buttered bread of freedom.
Let us sing the song that we have been given,
and do the work that is still ours to do,
whispering ever to those whom we remember
your strength give us strength.
May your faith give us faith.
May your hope give us hope.
May your love bring us love.”