Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Pain (revised 

the pain wraps around us,
like the rhythm
of a beating,
like metal on iron
of the hammer fall hitting nail,
piercing flesh,
going deeper
until it lodges in wood.

The pain,
oh the pain,
a woman crying out in the night
as her loved one is slain,
a man standing in grief
in the bombed storefront rubble,
a child shocked at the blood
from a slashed parent,
the armwrenching agony
as they hauled you with ropes,
arms nailed to the crossbeam
up up to the drop,
white pain electric
tearing through shoulder and arms
as the beam found the mortise,
like the pain of the tortured
screaming beneath their captor's hands,
crying out as the voltage
streams through their bodies,
throbbing the pain,
through heart and through body
the pain of being stripped here in public
of everything but the pain
and the stares of the gathered
as they gambled,
and witnessed with tears and with laughs,
waiting for the blood to fall
for the last breath to finish
like guards who kept watch
at a starvation ward
waiting for thirst to still his voice,
make an end to end his praying,
like nurses piling blankets high
to dehydrate the damaged
in the name of mercy killing.

The pain,
o the pain,
with each beat of your heart,
each hard sought breath,
like the pain of the deserted,
lost in the wild lands,
afraid to stir out in the day,
afraid of what men would do,
victims they cower,
victims of terror,
victim of rape,
victim of hunger,
scurrying out quick by night
seeing their children die
with no way to stop it,
like your mother in pain
standing there
watching each breath you take,
afraid of the last one,
dying inside
watching your death.

O Lord,
the pain,
O the pain,
you wrapped yourself around it,
accepted it,
tasted it,
drank it down to the last dregs,
and bore all the burden
of man's too willing evil,
of man's dark inhumanity
down to the pit of death,
walking each step with us,
walking each step along with us,
and accepted that last, lone breath,
that would shatter the chain.

Lord, in our grief,
hold us,
and tell us
as we unite with you,
as we live for you
you live for us,
and when the pain,
the last ache,
the last throb
is over and done,
you will take us
to where pain is banished.


Susan E. Stone, 2007

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