For Henry Barbanel

Because we are forever weak
and wounded, looking for someone
to follow or blame, sometimes
we become savage and change
the rules to ease our minds.
Clouded by delusions
of power or fame, human
beings can justify anything.

Too often things can go wrong
in a hurry, and the masses
go along as if their hearts
were turned inside out, and hatred
was something long hidden
but there, like a riptide
pulling below the glittering
smooth surface of the sea.

Abandoning everything
we know is right, we become
tribal and primitive,
tearing the ties that bind us
one to another, as if
they were made of air. And love
dissolves into something
lost in the cruel cacophony.

And though it may be far,
there is always a storm
swirling somewhere. The sea
that connects and creates us,
holds the seeds of our destruction.
Still, God keeps nothing from us.
Each new wave is a renewal;
every day a gift of our own making.

As we stumble from the shadows
of the twentieth century,
covered in blood and ash,
cradling the bones of those who are lost,
we know there can be justice;
the pattern has been set.
No matter how long it takes,
there is no peace without redemption.
Without shadows, there is no light.

In commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the Closing of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg (1946)