There are still songs to sing …Newtown, Connecticut, 2012

Friday, December 14, 2012, and the news from Newtown, Connecticut, is terrible. A nation says it is in anguish. The President speaks of the pain and the horror, of our children and our neighborhoods. Our tears flow. And the traffic in guns continues. And in these theaters of horror, more often than not, the shooters are men and the first targets are women.

We have been here before. It is all too familiar.

Near the end of a life spent trying to turn the pain, horror and anguish of mass violence into the possibility of understanding, Paul Celan found that the project of poetry, his life project, was “an impossible struggle, doomed from the start to disaster. For poetry cannot save the soul or retrieve a lost world. It simply asserts the given.”

And Celan wrote:

above the grayblack wastes.
A tree-
high thought
grasps the light-tone: there are
still songs to sing beyond

The thought that is tree-high is too high for our grasp. It is too late to sing songs beyond mankind. There must be songs to sing now. And they must begin by turning swords into ploughshares … now. Right now.

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About Dan Moshenberg

Dan Moshenberg is an organizer educator who has worked with various social movements in the United States and South Africa. Find him on Twitter at @danwibg.