The Death of Father Hamel

Father HamelLyrics by Joshua Weresch

Late-morning Mass,
Unsteady feet,
Steady hands,
Let’s say he’s been calling
down the Ghost for forty years.
Old stones
Amid older stones,
Sharp by shining sun,
So what are hands? What are
knives? What are fears?

Predictable as the Paternoster,
the door comes swinging out.
Young men, just two, moving quickly
as a shout,
For violence, death, and loss is so
boring and uncreative,
But he sees it coming, welcomes it:
movements that are native.

Transit gloria mundi–at the last.
All the glory that is carried,
the cadence of breath,
Slips slowly past.
He is driven to his knees,
The woman out of Palestine.
Two cut one throat, sharp as shining sun.
Could he forgive them with
his eyes?
So what’s in a breath? Where is blood?
Who is alive?
From a BBC news report (July 26, 2016): An 84-year-old priest was killed and four other people taken hostage by two armed men who stormed his church in a suburb of Rouen in northern France. The two attackers, who said they were from the so-called Islamic State (IS), slit Fr Jacques Hamel’s throat during a morning Mass, officials say. Police surrounded the church and shot dead both hostage-takers. French media named one of them as Adel K.

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