Shooting Victim Demands an End to the Massacre of Children.

Via Michael R. Burch
on Sep 25, 2016
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“Enough.”

Gabby Giffords’ single-word epigram was a powerful rebuke after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre left 20 young children and six educators dead.

Giffords is still recovering from the debilitating injuries she suffered in yet another senseless massacre, after being shot in the head and losing part of her brain. Whether you agree with her position or not, it’s hard to deny the power of that single word: “Enough.”

In the wake of the Orlando massacre that left more than a hundred people dead or injured, Giffords once again spoke forcefully:

“Five years ago, I was shot point blank in the head, and the Senate did nothing. When 20 young children and six educators lost their lives in Newtown, Connecticut, the Senate did nothing. San Bernardino, Roseburg, Navy Yard, Charleston, Isla Vista—nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing. And in the wake of yet another mass shooting—the deadliest in modern American history—the Senate chose to do the unimaginable: nothing at all.”

It is up to “we the people” to use our voices and our votes to put an end to such senseless shootings, especially when so many of the victims are children.

Here’s a poem that I wrote for Christina-Taylor Green, who was born on September 11, 2001, literally a “child of 9-11.” She died at the age of nine, shot to death during the same massacre that cost Gabby Giffords part of her brain…

Child of 9-11

Child of 9-11, beloved,
I bring this lily, lay it down
here at your feet, and eiderdown,
and all soft things, for your gentle spirit.
I bring this psalm—I hope you hear it.

Much love I bring—I lay it down
here by your form, which is not you,
but what you left this shellshocked world
to help us learn what we must do
to save another child like you.

Child of 9-11, I know
you are not here, but watch afar
from distant stars, where angels rue
the evil things some mortals do.
I also watch; I also rue.

And so I make this pledge and vow:
though I may weep, I will not rest
nor will my pen fail heaven’s test
till guns and wars and hate are banned
from every shore, from every land.

Child of 9-11, I grieve
your gentle life, cut short. Bereaved,
what can I do, but pledge my life
to saving lives like yours? Belief
in your sweet worth has led me here …

I give my all: my pen, this tear,
this lily and this eiderdown,
and all soft things my heart can bear;
I bring them to your final bier,
and leave them with my promise, here.

~

Author: Michael R. Burch

Image: 16:9clue/Flickr

Editor: Travis May


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About Michael R. Burch

Michael R. Burch’s poems, translations, essays, articles and letters have appeared in publications such as TIME, USA Today, Writer’s Digest, BBC Radio 3 and hundreds of literary journals and websites. His poetry has been translated into nine languages and set to music by composers Alexander Comitas and Seth Wright. He wrote a weekly column for the Nashville City Paper until its unfortunate demise. He also edits The HyperTexts.

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