Poem: Everywhere There Are Saints Walking

Reprinted from The Common Good, no. 22, Advent 2001

Everywhere there are saints walking

these deaths ask that we see

that we don’t turn away from the people’s pain

that we look into the face of death

that we know our own terror

that we walk with the little kid in New York

that we walk with the little kid somewhere in the Middle East

whose dads maybe went up in the same plane

and ask why the mother in the Middle East works ten hours and gets paid 50 cents a day

and why the mother in New York works eight hours

and gets paid $1000 a day

everywhere there are mothers breastfeeding their babies

in Palestine in Tel Aviv in New York in Kabul in Washington DC

there are fathers and mothers going to work to feed their families

in brand new leather shoes

in old running shoes

in sandals

in jandals

in barefeet

there are children playing outside

in the sun

in the rain

in the snow

in the wind

everywhere there are old people

watching the sky and the earth

looking out for

watching over the people working

and the children playing

everywhere in every tongue

there are people praying for peace

by candlelight

at dusk

in the early dawn light

in the clear light of day

people are praying for a peace to come in our bones

peace we can taste on our tongues

and feel in our hands

a peace that comes from deep within our heart

that washes through us over us all around us like a great tide

peace comes out of pain

it asks that the killings stop everywhere

not just the killing with guns

but the silent killing – death from curable diseases

death from hunger and malnutrition

it asks that all these terrors stop

that all of the killings cease

and that they never take place again

Kathleen Gallagher

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