Lead Us to Still Waters
I flip through social media
half awake, half-eyes closed,
in the comfort of my bed,
images of crying babies,
mothers on knees pleading
with hollow faces
have walked for hundreds of miles
carrying the world’s burden in one arm
and their babies in another,
feet wet with rain and swelling rivers,
homeless, landless, one foot in front of the other,
hard ground sleeping, 100-degree weather,
freezing temperatures in winter,
diarrhea, dysentery, rape, separation,
escaping violence and death,
hundreds, and thousands, and millions of mothers
circulating the globe in displacement
Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Africa, Central America
making their way with children and family
across broken, shattered landscapes
to green pastures and peaceful waters,
refugees seeking safety
only to find themselves in cages.
My friend posts, Doesn’t anyone care anymore?
and my heart sinks, because I know that at a distance
I am overwhelmed and oversaturated with news,
I speed past it on social media, a middle-aged woman
on insulin and heart medication,
a teacher living paycheck to paycheck,
school loans for an eternity,
1st World Problems.
but I do research and write a check
hoping someone will have clean socks to wear,
or water to drink, or shelter from the rain,
all along feeling helpless, and hopeless to help.
There is no emoji left that feeds the burn out
of seeing death flaunt itself in Global cop-out.
Where’s the Women’s March,
pink pussy cat hats sitting in dusty closets?
The Million Man March demanding fathers be fathers?
Where are the churches that cry out
for a fetus’ right to live
when babies are born in squalor and hunger,
dying in make-shift tents?
Then I see Scott Warren, a modern-day Jesus,
imprisoned for giving water to thirsty humans,
and when given a chance to speak at trial
he said, Since I’ve been imprisoned,
88 more bodies have been found in the desert.
In his mind I know he’s thinking,
I could have saved them, I could have saved them,
I could have saved them, 88 more lives gone,
88 more lives who had a right to live.
65.8 million people still wander the earth
from the wreckage of war and violence,
crushed by monster made missiles,
whatever the politics, who can keep up with it?
Homes stand like gaping wounds
of humanity. No place to go back to.
We are all brothers and sisters, a grandmother says,
Humans who want to be treated like humans,
Humans who deserve to love and to thrive,
Humans whose roots are tangled in soil we all call home,
stems and leaves and flowers pushing up into clear blue sky.
Imagine a world
6 thoughts on "Lead Us to Still Waters"
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Thank you for writing this poem with its resonant title.
Overwhelming in its passion, this poem sends thunderbolts to the core. Love the line that seems to boil our society down to an emoji. World problems often seem more than we can bear, but we still have to try. Thanks for writing this!
Those emojis. I never know how to respond to posts about human horrors. With a sad face? With an angry face?
This poem is INCREDIBLE! Thank you for reminding us that too many human rights violations continue throughout the world, and although they may gain some media attention, very little is ever done. Do you mind if I share this piece with the students in my Holocaust and Genocide Studies class next fall?
I’d be honored.