The Common Good
August 2004


by Carol Hamilton | August 2004

He died in a munitions explosion

He died in a munitions explosion,
the exquisite artist
who painted
the tamed bird, an irony,
as the arms were stored and stuffed
into the former home
of the Poor Clares,
sisters to St. Francis,
symbols of mercy.
Hundreds died and we died again,
but the painting left
was a symbol in a symbol-filled world,
thorns and thistles
for a lovely bird
and a kingly crown,
a passion for suffering as again
we turn from the cheek turned
and a dawn's sweet song
and from a day of palm-fretted hosannas
and stuff our children's mouths
with gunpowder,
never dreaming how intricately woven
are the choices we make,
though surely knowing
we shall wear what we have sewn,
and still,
from Calvary to Delft
to our own crucifixions,
some small beauty survives
or is taken out of cold stone

Carol Hamilton was poet laureate of Oklahoma from 1995 to 1997. Her most recent collection of poetry is Breaking Bread, Breaking Silence (Chiron Review Press).

Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

Related Stories

Like what you're reading? Get Sojourners E-Mail updates!

Sojourners Comment Community Covenant

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)