When I held you first in my arms I knew
Somewhere your brand new existence
Represented something to be destroyed.
I wanted you to grow up;
In love with variety;
To look for beauty in every genre
Of music, literature, art, humanity.
I wanted you to see a world full of
Strange faces: varying colours, headwear,
Hear different languages and be
Fascinated by difference not repulsed;
To see the person not the generalisation.
To believe or not believe yet understand belief;
Not let any man’s imperfect interpretation
Form an immovable, uncompromising view.
How can I imagine bringing you up to hate
When love is the only thing which has meaning?
Yet the world is in fear of fools who lie
And believe a lie and enforce a lie.
They do not speak for anyone’s god
They have a different master –
One who wants to divide and aims to demolish
Until there is nothing left to wipe out.
You are nearly adults now.
I am about to let you out in the world
To put you in the trust of strangers
To know that you will be on buses
And trains and planes
And sit in restaurants and theatres
And I pray that in the end
The fear will not devour you or us but
Consume itself in the face of love.
And today, full of tears of grief and anger
I wish I could reach and touch
The mothers who feel lost and empty,
Overwhelmed by darkness and loss.
Not just the mothers;
Not just the parents and friends or lovers
Whose faces and culture I understand
Whose country I love;
But everyone everywhere who woke yesterday
Wanting nothing but to love and live
And bring up their children
But had to face the gun instead.
Copyright 2016 by Paula Harmon. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission
4 thoughts on “Aftermath”
Emotive Paula. Excellent but so sad.
“But wait. A simple act of kindness has lit a spark
whose flames must surely spread…”
I hope so Val. I just despair sometimes. I find people fascinating, even when I don’t agree with them. No-one ever converted anyone’s heart with the sword, even if they converted what they SAID they believed. Only love can change people’s minds and hearts. I wrote this after the Paris massacre. Our son had also just flown out to Brussels the night before as well. It was a horrible weekend.
As a mother myself, this hits home on so many levels. My children will be with me for quite a few years yet, but I still some days dread them going out on their own. Both boys say they want to move to Canada, while my husband talks about Florida after retirement. I want to stay near my kids to protect them, even though I know there’s no guarantee that I can.
I know. I want mine to be independent and know I can’t protect them from everything forever, but even so, the urge to do so never quite goes. You can prepare them to be responsible adults as best you can, but you can’t protect them from a world full of people who aren’t responsible or behave like adults. Canada to Florida is (as we’d say) quite a hike. My son says he’d quite like to move to Canada one day (a real hike) or The Netherlands (not so much of a hike). My daughter wants to move to NY (or at least she does this week!)