Howard Richard Debs
I received a University of Colorado Poetry Prize at age 19. After spending the past 50 years in the field of communications with recognitions including a Distinguished Achievement Award from the Educational Press Association of America, I have recently resumed my literary pursuits; my latest work appears or is forthcoming in The Germ, Calliope, Big River Poetry Review, Jewish Currents, Poetica Magazine, Misfitmagazine, Eclectica Magazine, Star 82 Review, Ardor Literary Magazine, China Grove, and Belle Reve Literary Journal. My blog:http://communicatorsandcommunications.com
The Pope's Prayer
I read somewhere that in the year 2000
Pope John Paul II, now a saint,
while at the Western Wall on a visit to Israel—following
the custom of most others who
find themselves there—placed a small piece of paper
in a crevice in the Wall on which were written
God of our fathers,
You chose Abraham and his descendants
to bring your Name to the Nations:
we are deeply saddened
by the behaviour of those
who in the course of history
have caused these children of yours to suffer,
and asking your forgiveness
we wish to commit ourselves to
with the people of the Covenant.
I have just discovered that all such notes
as these filled with wishes and prayers by
the thousands are removed each year with care
using wooden sticks dipped in the cleansing
mikveh ritual bath to make room for
the succeeding year’s expected messages: the
words of hope, the thoughts of peace,
the requests for health—the scraps of paper
with these pleas will be taken for burial...
It is but fitting that the collective outpouring
of so many from all walks of life—
the pieces of pain, the scraps of yearning,
the writings of rumination, be together—
from dust to dust.
Repairing The World
The end is not yet.
The beginning came before.
We are in the middle.
What do we do within
this space and time?
Are we petrified?
Are we willing?
Are we dumbfounded?
We have a place to start.
It is the beating heart.
Pulsating, coursing with the
message that we are alive.
We can stand, walk,
run, see, feel, smell, speak, hear,
think, we can go on, or
stand still, like a statue,
cold and unmoved.
Feel: the pain of the mother holding her
bloated child dying of hunger in a
wretched refugee camp in Somalia.
Smell: the putrid musty odor
of bodies decomposing in the hell of
a despot’s war on his own people in Syria.
Hear: the muffled cries of young girls
forced to do the bidding of their pimps
in the cribs of Thailand.
Speak: to the homeless
huddled under a bridge in America.
From the four corners of the world,
gather our destitute—our disclaimed—
under a canopy of healing.
We can make this better.
©2014 Howard Richard Debs