The News at Night: A Poem for Syria

There is so much bad news in the world and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by it. Lately, it’s been the Syrian refugee crisis, and especially America’s response to it, that has been particularly hard to handle. But, if we are going to be truly alive in this world, I think we have to take it in and let it transform us. Here is a poem I wrote about doing that for the Syrian refugee crisis.

The News at Night

I think it was the babies that did it.


The stories of Syrian babies

cradled in the arms of desperate Syrian mothers

waiting at borders,

waiting in lines

in the rain and the snow.


The stories of dripping wet noses

on shivering bodies

casing terrified hearts,

of feet so wet that–


the Earth was reclaiming them.


Those stories finally broke me.


Sometimes the news is just too much.

Sometimes you turn it off and walk away.


The world is full of terror and a million responses to it.


I don’t know what happened to my country.

I don’t know why we all became so afraid.


But I know that,

for me,

I want to begin in the breaking.


Let the news crack the shell of me.

Let the news pierce my core.


Let it strip me naked

and beat me raw

and remind me where death lives.


And then—

only then—

when I am fully naked and free from fear

will it put me to work.


My job,

every night,

is to be reborn.


And my job,

Every day,

is to grow a garden.

Every day

replant the seeds of peace.

To learn more about the Syrian refugee crisis, check out this amazing speech Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) gave. Or, to offer support, visit this page.


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