And Now & The Seeds of Compassion by Rabbi Gaylia R. Rooks

I wrote this poem just moments after the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin. It was read at the Jewish Community Memorial Service Sunday evening in memory of the 13 Americans who were murdered last week–2 at the J’town Kroger and 11 at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

And Now…

In the Beginning

God created

the heavens and the earth

and now…

there is darkness on the face of the deep

and the earth is void

of righteousness and compassion.

And God divided

between the heavens above

and the heavens beneath

and now…

the heavens are filled with cries of suffering

and the seas could never contain

the oceans of innocent blood.

And the Holy One

Blessed Be

gathered together the waters on earth

and now…

upon the dry land there is

grass and trees bearing fruit

and anger bearing hatred and death.

And on the fourth day

The Lord God illuminated

sun and moon and stars

and now…

darkness threatens to overcome

the power of light

and the forces of evil and war unite.

Then the Eternal One

called forth living creatures

to swarm in the heavens and in the seas

and now…

the skies are filled

with weapons of destruction

and violence clouds the very air we breathe.

And the Creator

of all the world said

Let us make animals and human beings

and now…

human beings have become as animals

that demand domination over all God’s works

and kill and destroy what they cannot control

But on the seventh day

God rested from all labor

and God blessed the work of Creation

and now…

we must live that blessing

we must turn from death and war

and learn again the message of hope and love and peace.

And now…

let there be peace

let there be light

let there be promise

let there be love.

This poem was written in response to Mayor Greg Fischer’s call and was read at the Metro Hall this morning for Louisville’s Moment of Solidarity.
I wrote it in honor of the Mayor’s ongoing, unstinting efforts to make Louisville a City of Compassion and in memory of the 13 Americans who were murdered last week–
2 at the J’town Kroger and 11 at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

The Seeds of Compassion

May the tears shed for these souls,

gunned down in a war against hope,

water the seeds of compassion. 


May the oceans of prayers and words,

spoken against violence and hatred,

overflow into healing and unity. 


May the commitment of the caring and just, 

roll down into action like water,

to righteousness as a mighty stream. 


That our grief may turn into healing,

our mourning into joy for the world,

Never Again to weep for those slain.


We must counter violence with votes,

fight hatred with love,

conquer fear with friendship,

overwhelm terror with the forces of light and good.


May the tears shed for these souls,

gunned down in a war against hope,

water the seeds of compassion. 

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