Pace e Bene

  • Sign Up for Email Updates


    Pace e Bene on FacebookPace e Bene on Facebook

A Poem for Daniel Berrigan

Posted by Ryan Hall
05.02.16
Poem for Daniel Berrigan

July
Twenty-Eighth
(For Daniel Berrigan)

By Ken Butigan

You are outside
tonight,
adrift in the whirred glare tiny fragments spin,
missing in action in the
hard artificial light,
that cliche of space
and time.

Wandering, you find
the Salvadoran dead
lying on Broadway,
frozen and numbered.
Traffic picks its way round bodies
that appear by magic.
The public is outraged by the inconvenience.

But you remain.
What memory does this
loosen?
What hand pressed
against the spiraled flesh of your own?
What recognition
scenes unfold?
What poignant dreams?

While the chatter of death
plays on,
upstairs the music

upstairs the music
rattles like stones
swung inside
a bowl big like the earth,
swung by one
whose life
swings out in circles.

Upstairs there is the low bellow,
and the colored stones–
sienna, camel, burnt-orange,
each like eyes–
are wrested from rest
by the fiery feathered dance,
by the chord
struck at the start
of all new things,
which even now
is clear and clean,

which even now
urges the thin crust of the ground
forward and back.

You are here, Daniel,
learning to balance by shaking,
practicing the vertigo of spirit
that fixes you
to this precious earth.

*****

Ken Butigan wrote this poem a few days after a life changing conversation with Dan Berrigan — priest, poet, prophet and protester extraordinaire — on July 28, 1981.

Ken Butigan teaches in the Peace, Justice and Conflict Studies Program at DePaul University in Chicago.  He also works with Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service, a nonprofit organization fostering nonviolent change through education, community and action.

There are many substantive press accounts being published on Daniel Berrigan’s passing.  Here is John Dear’s powerful essay.  Here is the essay in the Washington Post written by writer and nonviolence teacher Colman McCarthy, and here is the long obituary in the New York Times.

Recent Posts

Spotlight Stories arrow
beavertonor-blog-2016

Boycott, Divest, and Sanction Event in Bearverton,OR

by Ryan Hall // Campaign Nonviolence

By Mary Ryan-Hotchkiss with Spirit of Grace Catholic and Lutheran community As part of Campaign Nonviolence, Sunday Sept. 25 Spirit of Grace, formerly Mission of the Atonement, in Beaverton, Oregon, hosted a retired Episcopal Bishop and former Board Chair of Sabeel … read more

Read More
corvallis-or-2016-blog-pinwheels

Pinwheels for Peace in Corvallis,OR

by Ryan Hall // Campaign Nonviolence

By Elizabeth Nielsen with First United Methodist Church Alternatives to Violence Team 9/24 – Pinwheels for Peace — the 11th annual Corvallis (Oregon) community celebration of the International Day of Peace — surrounded the Benton County Courthouse on Saturday morning.  Children and adults … read more

Read More
NV Lives blog image

New Book by Ken Butigan – Nonviolent Lives!

by Ryan Hall // Pace e Bene

Pace e Bene, Campaign Nonviolence, is pleased to announce that Ken Butigan’s Nonviolent Lives, foreword by Medea Benjamin, is in pre-press and will be released in mid-November, 2016. Long-time activist, teacher and author Ken Butigan has collected 45 stories highlighting leaders and participants of some of the most important nonviolent campaigns and movements of our era including unsung heroes, inspiring actions and movements that persevered against great challenges and succeeded in changing our world. read more

Read More
Image 01 Image 02
Please note: Our main office in Ohio has moved to Oregon. If you've mailed something to our Ohio address and it got returned, please mail to: PO Box F Corvallis, OR 97339
toggle