Sunday, June 8, 2008

Death Bullets Kill

I am a pacifist. What my father might describe as an "aggressive" pacifist. I do not believe in using something as ugly, terrible, and destructive as war. Ever. Not even for the "greater good."

That kind of oxymoron, I think, is akin to blaspheme.

I believe there is always a better option. A more creative option. An option that may demand more of us -- may require sacrifice and humility and love -- but will ultimately create life, rather than death. And will therefore reflect the nature of God, and what it truly means to be human.

For Mohammed Zeid of Gaza, Age 15

There is no stray bullet, sirs.
No bullet like a worried cat
crouching under a bush,
no half-hairless puppy bullet
dodging midnight streets.
The bullet could not be a pecan
plunking the tin roof,
not hardly, no fluff of pollen
on October's breath,
no humble pebble at our feet.

So don't gentle it, please.

We live among stray thoughts,
tasks abandoned midstream.
Our fickle hearts are fat
with stray devotions, we feel at home
among bits and pieces,
all the wandering ways of words.

But this bullet had no innocence, did not
wish anyone well, you can't tell us otherwise
by naming it mildly, this bullet was never the friend
of life, should not be granted immunity
by soft saying -- friendly fire, straying death-eye,
why have we given the wrong weight to what we do?

Mohammed, Mohammed, deserves the truth.
This bullet had no secret happy hopes,
it was not singing to itself with eyes closed
under the bridge.

-Naomi Shihab Nye

Go here to hear the author read her own poem.

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