Photos of Aylan Kurdi, the 3 year old Syrian refugee who drowned in the Aegean Sea off the coast of Bodrum, Turkey, have haunted my thoughts for several weeks now.
|i found God|
cradled in the pensive palms of earth,
his head rocked slightly in the gentle surge,
caressed by waves that murmured quiet prayers;
his arms lay pale and tranquil at his side,
his legs pulled partly up as if in sleep—
perhaps he slept, but he would never wake.
eyelids lightly closed on sunken dreams,
a cherub cheek lay pressed against dark sands;
and clothes that only hours before were filled
with flames of life and curiosity
now covered only stillness like a bruise,
a shroud still dripping fathoms’ worth of rheum.
peace was on his brow, immeasurable—
such contrast to the violence of his plight;
what circumstance would bring a child here
curled sleeping cold and graying on the shore,
his shrieks of laughter silenced to a sigh
caught strangled in the throats of passersby?
this is God, i thought, in all his glory—
we praise with words his name, then turn and plunge
him flailing in the dark of angry seas
until his strength plays out and every breath
is filled with brine—and sudden quietude—
just flotsam on the altars of the deep.
yes—i found God on the beach today,
the seagulls circled high above his head
and cried their long and steady mournful calls;
the people saw him and they knelt in prayer,
hands clutching at their heaving, hollowed breasts,
all hope of penance ripped from out their souls.
If fatherhood has given me anything, it is an incredible pain in my chest at the sight of a dead, abused or impoverished child. I see the eyes of my baby son in the face of every child. I've heard it said that God is revealed in the face of our children, in their innocence, love and wonder. If this is true, then there is no hope of salvation for any of us, for we are all responsible and we all bear the shame of such atrocities.