Blessed Are They Who Mourn

Blessed Are They Who Mourn



In the northwest corner of Iraq,
in a Kurdish stronghold, toppled,
in a drafty hovel,
a child, alone, whimpers.
for his parents
who will not return.

In a small country on the African continent,
in an isolated region near the coast,
in the ruins of a burnt-out shack,
a mother wails.
Her child, her lover are dead
bled out by a virus.

In a remote village of Ukraine,
in an unsettled township,
in a frigid home,
an old man shivers.
His world is shattered,
he wonders what comes next.

In a not-far part of my city,
in a homeless settlement by the river,
in a flimsy tent made of old blankets,
a family waits,
dreams of a recent past
before they lost their jobs.

In a southwest suburb of here,
in the warmth of a mansion,
in a world not known to us,
a childless couple grieves
the death of the dog they loved
for seventeen years.

In a corner of my heart,
in the waking hours of morn,
in the silence of my room,
these losses loom.
How can I comfort
so much loss?

Somehow, as I enjoy so much abundance, these realities seem all the more expedient. Sadly, this poem could go on and on…as I’ve been reflecting on the Beatitudes lately, I feel so helpless in the face of so much grief.



Photo: D. Slotto

Photo: D. Slotto


There is no greater love than this, than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John, 15:13

All the glory of fall—
cloudless blue skies to complement
the orange-red-yellow of the maple
that drops her leaves
on my shoulders and head as I

crouch in cool grass,
slowly stroke stain on thirsty
redwood. The color trickles in rivulets
till I sweep it with my brush.

Life is textured like this wood—
creviced, split, dry,
oh-so-dark in places.
I water it with pain(t).

Here, in my almost-backyard
(not Newton or Columbine or
Virginia Tech),
but here, a teacher and a boy
have fallen, like the leaves,
into a pool of crimson tears.

A year ago, tomorrow (the 21st), we experience a school shooting in our community. A courageous and well-loved math teacher was killed trying to protect his students. Also, the young, disenfranchised shooter died, taking his own life.

In memory of  8th grade teacher, Mike Landsberry, who gave his life a year ago today protecting children at the Sparks Middle School shooting, and with thoughts for the young boy who felt so desperate. Prayers for all those who were affected. 

Photo: KTVN News Channel 2

Photo: KTVN News Channel 2

Poem originally posted on my poetry Blog:  10/21/13