Monday, July 31, 2006

Monumental remorse

Patricio church - interior
Originally uploaded by goforchris.
This little church, hidden away at the top of a hill in Wales, was originally built after the murder of S. Issui, a holy man who lived beside a well at the foot of the hill. The well is still there, and people have left little crosses of sticks and other small offerings around it in the bushes and on the wall. A peaceful place of great beauty arising from an act of violence upon an innocent man, arising because of the remorse felt at such an act, hundreds of years ago.

I can't help thinking right now about the acts of violence being perpetrated on the innocent in Lebanon. Last night's news from Qana showed the innocent all right, slaughtered randomly in an Israeli attack. The picture here,at Guardian Unlimited is unbearable. Yet the people responsible don't really seem to feel much in the way of remorse - "we weren't aiming at civilians" doesn't really have the same resonance as building a church, useless though that would undoubtedly be in the circumstances.

I'm also struck by the courage of reporters like Fergal Keane. He's won all these awards for his work, and there he is, right in the middle of the suffering - helpless, like the rest of us. He does, however, show us what's happening. And he appears to suffer himself - how could he not?- beside the Lebanese victims.

I'm no politician, and no strategist either. But it seems to me that we need to erect some monument to the innocent suffering of the Lebanon. Not a church. I was thinking more of the West saying "Hold, enough" - and meaning it. And if Bush can't bring himself to do it, the rest of us should.

St. Issui

And here, because a holy man was killed,
a small church dreams on its unlikely hill.
The soft wind blows the distant wails of sheep
where moles disturb the old forgotten dead
and in these walls I sense the deep-packed prayer
which flowered above the hermit of the well
and add my own, ephemeral as the breeze,
and listen for an echo from my God.

C.M.M. 07/06

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous5:53 AM

    Chris, you have broken my heart with this photo and, yet, I thank you for guiding me to it. I thank you, as well, for the uncanny peace your poetry brings with its unexpected images which fly true from your heart to the hearts of your readers.

    A thousand thanks for the quiet good your blog does would not be enough. Edgar would be so proud!