Daniel Berrigan, SJ, celebrated his 90th birthday yesterday. We older folk remember him as a charismatic anti-war activist in the 60s and 70s. He was a powerful advocate for non-violence and social justice for many years.
He is also a poet of some renown. Here is one of his lyrics.
Were I God almighty, I would ordain, rain fall lightly where old men trod, no death in childbirth, neither infant nor mother, ditches firm fenced against the errant blind, aircraft come to ground like any feather.
No mischance, malice, knives.
Tears dried. Would resolve all
flaw and blockage of mind
that makes us mad, sets lives awry.
So I pray, under
the sign of the world’s murder, the ruined son;
why are you silent?
feverish as lions
hear us in the world,
caged, devoid of hope.
Still, some redress and healing.
The hand of an old woman
turns gospel page;
it flares up gently, the sudden tears of Christ.Picture by Clara Sherley-Appel under Creative Commons license.