Alas! How lonely sits the city
Once great with joyful people!
New horrors fill horizons now
while old pain never left
Each new loss diminishes
the streets themselves bereft
Bitterly we weep all night
cheeks wet with tears unseen
If we are to join together,
we must widen this choir of woe
When some cries are background noise
what’s the meaning of “friend” and “foe”?
City in despair right here,
Can Jewish space bring rest?
Refugees are some, just some,
of misery’s many faces
Public protest spreads the nation
are we stuck in narrow places?
Down our roads, more peril
desolation, violence, fear
systems that crush and jail
separate, cage, and hate
Borders come in many shapes
Too often closed, that welcome gate
Evidence mounts. Not in our name.
Closing camps, protecting neighbors and strangers –
that is work we are all called to do
But what about mutual care?
Or must we ignore some of our truths
in chasing a goal that we share?
Forging coalition is struggle, tougher in anguish.
Inside affliction, can we hear another cry?
It is painful and complex, but we must keep trying
trying to heed the whole sound
I know you can hear it, God once declared loudly:
that voice of a sibling crying up from the ground
–V. Spatz, songeveryday.org CC-BY-SA
Yes: We demonstrate publicly that Jews will not turn our backs on refugees arriving in this country and on immigrant neighbors already here. We support vigils and protest to #CloseTheCamps. Now!!
Can we not also:
- Recognize many ways our country has long separated families, caged and brutalized people?
- Cry with our local, national and international communities, refugees and not, who lend different voices to the chorus of “How lonely sits this place!”?
- Send prayer energy to our many beleaguered communities, near and far?
- Commit to exploring, in the days to come, ways in which we are complicit in so much suffering and ways we might take up action for repair?
“It is not ours to complete the task, but neither are we free to desist from it” — Pirkei Avot 2:16
Here’s a PDF of this post, should anyone want to print a single page.Eichah for my city maybe yours