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

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

A Call to Mobilize the Nation Through 2018

by Ryan Hall // Campaign Nonviolence

By Rev. John Dear.

While the media and the nation sit transfixed over the Trump scandals and attacks on democracy, those of us who work for justice and peace know that we have to keep working, resisting, and mobilizing people across the country if we are going to have the social, economic and political transformation we need for our survival. read more

Read More

No Just War

by Erin Bechtol // Campaign Nonviolence

By Sandi Dollinger // Posted with permission from PeaceVoice   Moral Injury and Nonviolent Resistance is not an easy train read. It is, however, a “Must Read” and very compelling. In a culture where war is taken for granted, whether … read more

Read More

Nonviolent Lives Book Review

by Erin Bechtol // Pace e Bene

  Review by John Smith This book is an inspiring catalogue of contemporary compassion, courage and conciliation. It is largely USA centered, but it includes a few individuals with an international reputation, such as Wangari Maathai.  Among the 35 names celebrated … read more

Read More
Image 01 Image 02