After everything has been said and done, the rhetoric doesn't really matter. Eloquently empty speeches are about as lovely as the taste of grass in one's dry mouth after a hard and lonely night. The victims of these terrible, grandiose schemes concocted by megalomaniacs are for the most part just ordinary people: they're someone's mother, father, sibling, child, spouse, lover, neighbor, friend. They just went off to work one ordinary morning, and never came home again.
Whether such violence occurs in New York City or in the Middle East or in Asia or wherever, the result is the same: grieving family and friends who cannot understand the why, only that they are suffering a loss that is almost too terrible to bear. To these people, my heart goes out to you.
The following sad -- yet somehow hopeful -- poems come to mind. The first one is a 19th-century poem, and it was part of an article in a 2001 issue of Reader's Digest. The second one is something I wrote a few years back.
Death Is Nothing at All********************
by Canon Henry Scott-Holland
Death is nothing at all
I have only slipped away into the next room
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other
That we are still
Call me by my old familiar name
Speak to me in the easy way you always used
Put no difference into your tone
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
Laugh as we always laughed
At the little jokes we always enjoyed together
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was
Let it be spoken without effort
Without the ghost of a shadow in it
Life means all that it ever meant
It is the same as it ever was
There is absolute unbroken continuity
What is death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind
Because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you for an interval
Somewhere very near
Just around the corner
All is well.
Nothing is past; nothing is lost
One brief moment and all will be as it was before
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!
Listening to the rain
Watching several drops hit and fall
Down my window pane
Faster than the tears rolling down my face
Wondering, marvelling at the quicksilver nature of life
One life, here one day, gone the same day
Like the raindrop that fell down my window pane
Like the tear that fell down my face
Refusing to let go
Would be like refusing to let the raindrops fall
To nourish something else