We ran there,
my mother and I.

We were running with the group,
running in the street,
running for the line.

We were running when the first explosion 
tore the crowd apart.

My brother was in that crowd.

My mother ran to where he had been,
to where we saw him last.

I ran after her, calling his name.
We could not find him.

We found only blood, and 
the pieces 
of other mother’s sons,
other sister’s brothers.

Last month, we lost my father.
Now we have lost my brother.
Our world is torn apart.

My name is Abida
and I live in Baghdad.

My name is Badria
and I live in Kabul.

My name is Brigid
and I live in Dublin.

My name is Abby
and, yes, I live in Boston.

The ear of compassion hears the voice of the other
no matter how far away the voice is.

The ear of compassion hears the voice of the other
no matter which side of the line it calls from.

The ear of compassion hears the voice of the other
no matter how quiet it is.

Why do we run from the voice of the other?
It is our own voice.

32 thoughts on “Running

  1. YES! Pain is pain, loss is loss, grief is grief. Until we know this, gather ourselves into the large family that we are, no one will get this. Reminds me of what I heard a man say on the radio today– “this one is personal for me.”

    Aren’t they all personal to us? They damned well should be.


    • Funny that when you say you’re trying to be a better person, people seem to understand, yet if you say you’re trying to be a better human, they look at you like your just some hippie. But being a better person means just this: taking is ALL personally.
      Thank you–


  2. Beautiful. Well said. I’ve thought about writing something about the bomb attacks, but don’t know what to say or how to say it and don’t necessarily want to pile on or say the wrong thing. You’ve hit the nail on the head. Reblogging now.


  3. Touchiung! so full of compassion, so wonderful in its recognition of the universality of pain!
    Strong – “The ear of compassion hears the voice of the other
    no matter how quiet it is”.


  4. Yes, JCC. This is excellent. As Zen Doe right above me said: “You’ve hit the mark precisely and poignantly. Stunning work.” Indeed.

    I hope that many people realize that life in English-speaking North America (some of it, anyway) is not quite so exceptional as some people would like to believe. I like how you bring all of the carnage together so that Boston is not a notable exception, it is part of the human condition.


    • Thank you Jeremy. It is indeed sad that even as people try to acknowledge that this suffering is ubiquitous, they still use phrases like “…but especially..” or (as I read just today) “…but particularly…” when speaking about what happened in Boston. Why particularly? Why not generally? When the tragedy has to hit us this close in order for us to notice or feel it, then were we really paying attention?


  5. it’s a powerful poem, and one of the reasons is because of its structure. the first part focuses on the tragedy of the poem’s speaker, and then the poem “explodes” to tell include the voices of other people all over the world who have suffered a similar loss. the one becomes many.


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