After every war…

This continues to be an awful time as we live through such an atrocity. War never has winners. I am bereft of words. My heart feels such pain and I feel so isolated and helpless, day after day I watch the agony of innocent families trying to escape yet desperate to return to their homeland. I turn to the Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska and to her poem The End and the Beginning. Sadly we are far from the end and from the beginning. Please pray for the existence of hope and courage and please remember those families that endure the pain and the parting of war.

The End and the Beginning

by Wislawa Szymborska


After every war
someone has to clean up.
Things won’t
straighten themselves up, after all.

Someone has to push the rubble
to the side of the road,
so the corpse-filled wagons
can pass.

Someone has to get mired
in scum and ashes,
sofa springs,
splintered glass,
and bloody rags.

Someone has to drag in a girder
to prop up a wall.
Someone has to glaze a window,
rehang a door.

Photogenic it’s not,
and takes years.
All the cameras have left
for another war.

We’ll need the bridges back,
and new railway stations.
Sleeves will go ragged
from rolling them up.

Someone, broom in hand,
still recalls the way it was.
Someone else listens
and nods with unshattered head.

But already there are those nearby
starting to mill about
who will find it dull.
From out of the bushes
sometimes someone still unearths
rusted-out arguments
and carries them to the garbage pile.

Those who knew
what was going on here
must make way for
those who know little
And finally as little as nothing.

In the grass that has overgrown
causes and effects,
someone must be stretched out
blade of grass in his mouth
gazing at the clouds.

Holy, merciful God,
forgive us for our foolish and warlike ways.
Help us stop war.
Come to our aid
O Holy Prince of Peace.
We recall the way it was,
the way it ought to be. Amen.

One thought on “After every war…

  1. During the time of the Cuban missile crisis I was afraid, not because of what I knew, but because of what I would hear from adults’ conversations. During the Vietnam era, I was afraid because of what I heard listening to the audio tapes sent to my college roommate by her young, drafted boyfriend stationed there. And now, I am afraid for what I know, what I read, what I see and what I imagine. This is painful lifelong learning, heartbreaking.


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