Alas for we who remain

Thy barefoot lovers who steal shoes
from their brothers
are not thieves—they are Thy signs.

Thy true parents who abandon the trusts
of Thy bounty
are not remiss—they are Thy lights.

Thy sincere ones who forswear every act
in Thy service
are not lapsed—they are Thy guides.

But alas for we who remain.
You—You created this paradox
for us, didn’t You?
Even with all of Your knowledge
it is only through You
that we can have any hope in us.

…we must sacrifice the important for the most important.‘Abdu’l-Bahá

It is a simple question with no easy answer: how do those who sacrifice themselves for their ideals justify their act to those who depend on them? How do we understand martyrs?

To be honest, I struggle with this one too.

Thank you for reading Alas For We Who Remain. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.


© 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. This poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2013 by John Etheridge,


Filed under Poetry

8 responses to “Alas for we who remain

  1. Well John, as per I’m lost. But then I have a different kind of some belief system I think, but it is more cynical than not. Thanks for all your help today. Excelllent work.>KB

    • KB, Not to worry. No belief system is worth its salt if it cannot tolerate other systems and cannot accept some questioning. As to the help today, you gave as good as you got, and I think we both enjoy both sides of the equation, so happily, it is a win/win for us both. 😉

      • Yes, I had my doubts in the beginning about how much we might be helpful for each other but I think I misjudged you poetic skills because of the difference in what we write; not what we write about but how we write about them.>KB

      • I bet you say that to all the people who love your poetry! And yes, quite different…but that is, in part, the magic of poetry: what is said and not said in the void between contrasts.

  2. Good words, great poem. Maybe my favorite section of your poem is this piece:”You—You created this paradox / For us, didn’t You? / Even with all of Your knowledge / You—You created this paradox / For us, didn’t You? /
    Even with all of Your knowledge / It is only through You / That we can have any hope in u … ”
    By the way thanks for visiting Wilder Man On Rolling Creek. There is a logistical problem with me being able to respond to comments … and it must be my computer. So, thanks again for your good words. Peace.

    • I enjoy your blog like I think I would enjoy visiting your tree house…it’s where you can always get a breath of fresh, clean air!

    • Thank you! It is interesting how differently people react to poems on spirituality and sacrifice. It is really important, I think, the world view that one brings to this sort of poetry. But thank you again!