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The Children of Manchester (poem)



Gather, Children
the ghosts of years long passed have come to bear witness
to the tragedy in Manchester
those who’ve been struck from the earth when hate and fear and anger took them
in war, and famine, and with fear’s iron hand
now stand side by side in a silent Reveille

Gather, Children
and bear witness to the pale faced human wraiths whom
by the millions are flooding the streets of your fair city
who’ve risen from the graveyards of history
who stare forward with eyes filled with sympathy, empathy, and compassion
for those who yet live
and gather unto themselves those who do not

Gather, Children
and let your eyes bear witness to what happens
when dangerously simple and prejudiced filled minds try to address the worlds ills
the results of which are drawn out to their terrible conclusion
this great example of what hate, fear, and confusion
wrought forth
when it seeps out of the cracks in our heart’s
shadowed places

Gather, Children
and turn the tide of inevitability
hold back the swift hand of death – this spectre and respecter of none
Regardless of rank, and station, and life long ambition
Who comes for us all – in the form of a friend
or in the shape of our enemy

Gather, Children
be ye young, middle aged, or with more days behind you than before you
and cast your heart, and your tears, and your fears, and your faith, and your eyes downward
and take a long hard look at what hate and malice, and malcontent, and fear, and retribution does when it infests the soul of a person
who then causes the innocent to lay silent at your feet
What a tragedy, What a waste

Gather, Children
and see when the spirits of the other side of mankind’s legacy
walk your future back down those narrow streets
only to disappear with the breaking of the sun of a new day
and while you mourn for those who are gone from this earth
Remember to weep for those who yet remain


Authors note: Pope Francis was quoted as saying, “You pray for the hungry, then you feed them, that’s how prayer works.” Manchester, my prayers, and grief, and hope, and love are with you just as they once belonged to France after the mindless terror in the Bataclan, as they were with those in Orlando at the disco.

I don’t know what that equivalent of Francis’ words are, here. But whatever it is, however it is, it has to be better than what we’ve been doing.

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