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after the first invasion of iraq...


"Accounts Come Home"
a poem by Daniel Berrigan, sj


Taking in account all kinds of things
from the state of the economy

to the state of the union
to the state of amnesia

which like 50 or more states
(kids can name them)

is like a gang rape
in a swedish nursery
or a fire drill in hell --

will someone please inform me
precisely when
we died

or why that
departure, arrival

by recorded announcement
put off
and off
and off

Having no tears like
having no money
O where shall I replenish
the springs of my eyes ?

The children ring me round
tin cups in dead hands
clamoring --

O give me tears

you stole our blood
to make your bread

spun us blindfold
in a game you great ones

we whirl we topple

it's like death except
for death they weep

but for us
no one knows
no one




Though Daniel Berrigan is not widely known as a poet (much of his life is spent refusing to compromise with death and crimes of State and the warmakers), I do not know of a truer poet still writing. Nearly alone of Americans his poetry confronts the criminal destruction of Iraq in 1991, the killing, and continued killing of its people through deprivation of medical goods, foods and means of recovery. Amidst so many silently reaping the rewards of that war and the next, his work gives hope. This poem originally appeared in The Victory of Grass: American Salaam Iraqi, edited by Sr. Eileen Storey, sc; New York: Aletheia School of Prayer, 1991. - J.B.Gerald





gerald and maas night's lantern
posted with the poet's permission
january 31, 2006