Writing in Tragedy

25 Dec

If you are reading this post on Christmas day, my advice for you is to go hug your family and get off the internet!

On the other hand, maybe you’ve had too much of them by now. Okay.

In the hours after I heard about the shootings in Connecticut over a week ago, I wrote two poems. Poetry is not something I write often. Rarely do I end up publishing it for others to read. It is usually a way for me to process difficult emotions, overwhelming joy, or just plain amazement. This time it was horror, shock, pain, helplessness.

Isn’t that why we write in the first place? To share what being human is? So that’s why I write poetry. And I’m sharing these today with you. I hope my words touch that place in  you that will resonate how I felt at the time.

The Only Thing

The only thing

I can do

in this madness

is to love

to create peace

where I can

to hold in my heart

the wounded

the poor

the sick

the sad

the only thing

I can do

is live

by the spirit within

and hope

to give enough

of myself

to make

some difference

When They Ask

When they ask

How did we let this happen?

Say to them

I did nothing to stop it.

Did you?

This is the culture

We have all perpetuated.

We all committed this act

Because we are a society

Of violence

Of intolerance

Of guns and killing

Of hatred

When did we sow seeds of love?

When did we help someone in pain

So bad that he might think the only way


Was to kill and then die?

When did we say

It is my responsibility?

As a citizen, I own up.

I did it.

Because of my inaction

Things happened.

Because I was too busy,

Lives ended.

How many times do we have to

Relive this

To realize we need to


Not with more guns

Not with more fear

Not with more anger.

Act now

With love

Care for those on the edge

The fringe

Do you even see them?

They feel invisible,

So is it any wonder they


Their actions aren’t important?

Reach out

To the weak

To the crazy

To the suffering in silence

To the odd one out

To the desperate

It’s easier to ignore

But that

Is how we let this happen.


Posted by on December 25, 2012 in Idaho, poetry


8 responses to “Writing in Tragedy

  1. maryvine

    December 25, 2012 at 7:35 AM

    I had to write it down, too. It’s almost like we can move on in a small way. I hope more can be done (legislated) for the mentally ill.

  2. Liz Flaherty

    December 25, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    It silenced me. I haven’t written a comprehensible word since it happened and, as Mary says, I’m unable to move forward. I can’t say I agree with what you’ve written but I so envy your ability to do so.

    Merry Christmas to all.

  3. Judith Keim

    December 25, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    Taking a break from family before they descend for a yummy, wonderful family dinner… Poetry is a wonderful way to express emotions, especially after hearing about distressing, senseless acts…

  4. marsharwest

    December 25, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    Haven’t been on the internet for a couple of days. I’m blessed to have kids and grands who live in town, and we had a lovely morning all together at a daughter’s house. In the middle of all the joy, the thought of those poor souls left behind stabbed into my consciousness. I don’t write poetry. Yours is lovely.

    I agree we share some responsibility for what happened. On a global basis, it’s called voting. Who we send to our school boards, city councils, state legislatures, and congress. Men & women who make decisions that affect our daily lives. Decisions about funding are at top on the list.

    On a local basis, it’s what do we do about the homeless we see standing on street corners. I’ve given money, on occassion. I heard the other day from some fellow church members who carry sack lunches in their car, and they hand those out those people on the corner.

    There’s lots more we all should be doing to demand greater mental health care. And I’m sorry, but why does anyone need an assault weapon? Other than to add profits to the gun dealers. I’m in Texas, and the reports are that folks are flocking to buy those weapons. I have my mother’s gun and I’ve practiced shooting it. My father hunted. I’m not anti-gun, but surely this horrible crime will move congress to act to make assault weapons less accessible.

    Okay, sorry to soap box quite so much, but the subject strikes too many nerves for me to ignore.
    Still, I can celebrate the day, the family, gifts, laughter, food, and for us a special surprise–a Christmas snow. Nothing like y’all get, of course. Streets are still clear after three hours of the lovely stuff falling from the skies. It was 80 degrees last Friday, and will be back to the low 60’s by this Friday. Still, I’m grateful.

  5. Janis

    December 26, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    Very touching poem. It shows us all what we can do.

  6. stephanieberget

    December 26, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    Beautiful poems. I haven’t written much since the tragedies of the last few weeks. Hopefully our elected officials will quit arguing and take care of business. Off my soapbox now, I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.

  7. Peggy Staggs

    December 26, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    There is no simple answer. I just hope we can fine it in time.

  8. Lynn Mapp

    December 26, 2012 at 9:29 PM

    It is beautiful.
    It’s called “crazy” for a reason. It doesn’t make sense. You can’t reach out to crazy, because, it’s crazy. They need more than kindness. They need help.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: