Pain in a blind eye

A good man is a man who would love you,
who would, at the least, forgive you.
He would look into your face and see the visage
of his Maker there and hold that too dear to lose;
would understand that you are the creature
of forces you could neither deny or command
and would wonder how you could do
what you just did. But with that cordite in the air
and all this blood everywhere
and their screams still screaming in my ear,
I know I am not that man—
so I hate you even more.

And pain in a blind eye’s a double hurt.
Rúmí, The Mathnaví, I.
Quoted by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p.34

It is the day after another mass shooting. A day when, again, we offer our prayers and love to the victims and their families. A day when, again, we search for understanding and why.  A day when, again, we wonder why the only answer is misdirection and empty rhetoric. A day when, again, we hope that there will be some substantive change, although we know there will not.  A day when, again, I come face-to-face with my inability to forgive such evil and to let go of my anger, and what that means about me as a spiritual being.

Thank you for reading Pain in a blind eye. I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. I have disabled the ‘Like’ button for this post— there is nothing to like here. As always, I look forward to your comments.

The photograph was taken a few days ago in Cranston, RI. To see my photography blog, please visit the Book of Bokeh.


Photograph, poem and notes © John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original written work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © John Etheridge, The photograph is not licensed for use in any way without the expressed consent of its creator.


Filed under Poetry

12 responses to “Pain in a blind eye

  1. therealvixen

    In the comforts of our homes one can hardly imagine such a situation…so much hatred.. thoughtless people.. when will all of this end..! True nothing to ‘like’ here except to pray hard for hearts to change.

  2. Pete Hulme

    It’s so hard not to get triggered by these atrocities, either into fury or despair. Or both sometimes. I am straining hard to learn how to keep believing in the power of altruism and goodwill, which we can also see out there, and which we can strive to practice, is more than a match for any fanatics. Not sure how well I’m doing in the aftermath of an atrocity.

    • Pete, I could not agree more. One strives to see the good, to share the good, to be the good, but hate seems so much more powerful and relentless. Add to this Pittsburgh incident, Wednesday’s murder of two black people in Jeffersontown, KY in a supermarket, because the shooter could not get access to a black church…I am heartbroken.

  3. Pam Rosenlund

    Thank you
    ~~ Pam

    “The highest spiritual practice is self-observation without judgment.” Swami Kripalu

  4. philwilke

    this is amazing

    • Thank you, my dear friend! However, as much as it is an honest poem (and so, I suppose I am being honest about my honesty), it is not a poem I like or am proud of. It is more from the gut than the mind or the heart, and I cannot deny it, but it saddens me much and sets me adrift every time I re-read it.

  5. Kathleen Johnson

    John, thank you. I feel like I’m in quicksand these days…I keep trying to pull myself out but man, some days it’s hard to even see how. Those of us sickened by the events of the day must stick together and stand up, support and teach. What other choice do we have but to endure for those who can’t any longer.

    • Kathleen, thank you so very much. These days, when evidence of the old world order’s malaise is particularly evident, it is hard. But it is especially hard on those who are empathetic, who see the world through the prism of their, and other people’s, emotions. When we see such immense and intense pain, we can only feel it like a burden on our back, one that is not only heavy to carry, but sucks the very energy from you that you need for such a task. But I love your lines,

      What would we do but endure
      For those who cannot any longer?

      It would make a fine ending for a poem! Have you considered writing one? You should!