When the Facebook bell starts ringing
To tell of more lives taken
By men with names that are not like ours
You always say the same thing,
Time after time after time.
That they are monsters and
Inhuman and cannot
For they are not like us
No brother, not at all.
But I say, brother, you’re a liar
And maybe sister, you forgot
The things we used to say in high school
The songs we sang when we were young.
A little too in love with easeful death.
And I say how fortunate were we
And the heretics we hated
And the infidels we feared
And I say thank Christ he made it clear
Which end of the gun we are to stand on.
Something has happened while we were sleeping
Something has happened while we were in bed.
The winter has ended all of her weeping
And spring has come to the land of the dead.
An answer came to all of our hoping
“Come from the four winds, and breathe on the slain”
And the graves in our hearts have been opened
Come out and play in the wind and the rain.
Sing to the Lord from your unroofed cathedral,
Sing to the Lord from your half-built heart.
Sing to the Lord, all ye mid-restoration,
Sing to the Lord, all ye falling apart.
How many times has he died today?
In hospices and on highways
In NICUs and in nursing homes,
Dirty apartments and death rows?
In how many ways was he pierced today?
By crack and chemotherapy
By fentanyl and friendly fire
Drive-by, drone strike and drunk driver?
In how many tombs was he laid today?
In plastic urns and in mass graves
In lime pits and in tidy rows
Left on his cross and to his crows?
How many times is he risen today?
It is not given me to say.
But all that is within me cries
He does not die, except to rise.
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Lord over the laughing child
And over schools last day
Lord over their long delight
And their unending play
Lord of the dripping morphine
And the necrotic sore
Lord of the catheter bag
And the unopened door.
Lord of the daughters of Lot
And sons of Abraham
Lord of his forsaken self
For whom he sends no ram.
Lord of the unanswered cry
And of the lonely bed
Lord who came to be with us
Both the living and the dead
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Spring comes down like an airstrike
To the white unready earth
And fells the frozen powers
All in a single evening.
Makes the sleeping fields to shine
Brimming bright with their delight
Makes their joy to overflow
And sets the ditches singing.
Tonight the world is trembling
As that laughter is released
To shake from their foundations
All the little works of men.
And tonight I wonder
If this is how it will end
In ever-swifter swingings
Of its sorrows into joys.
His love’s a blade this time of year.
Bright as the vernal equinox
Cold as the rain that ends the snow
Hard as the howling Lenten wind.
He made that blade to break my heart
To cut a furrow deep and straight
Beneath the salt and cigarettes
Into the darkness where I sleep.
To find and lay beneath the sun
All that which I have hidden there
All the buried coins and corpses
Secrets scattered to the seagulls.
Here his love comes, belching diesel
To till the fields of no-man’s-land
Pouring into my ripped-up heart
Seeds by the hundred million.
All our roads go wrong;
All our highways ever bending
All our shortcuts never ending
All our roads go wrong.
All we make, we mar;
All our weaving ever rending
With disaster ever trending
All we make, we mar.
All our towers fall;
All our heights ever descending
Our facades so well pretending
All our towers fall.
But there is one who
Takes the bent and keeps on bending
Takes the rent and keeps on rending
Dies with us and keeps descending
Till we reach our never-ending.
I sat with her today
In that last awful place
Counting the bones between
The lines upon her face.
Now I don’t know what happens
To the bread or to the wine
But You were with her today
And with her You were dying.
It’s human to be tired
It’s human to be cold
It’s human to be lonely
It’s human to get old.
It’s human to be losing
It’s human to get lost
And it’s human not to have
What being human costs.
It’s human to need saving
It’s human to be saved
It’s human to be carried
From the cradle to the grave.
It’s human to be dying
It’s human to be raised
It is human not to be
Who is worthy to be praised.