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POEM: Reader pens 'Empowering the Grave' to foster healing

Barrie man puts pen to paper to mark National Day of Truth and Reconciliation
Spirit Catcher steps 2021-07-08
Children's shoes, a symbol of the lives lost in the residential school system, left at the Spirit Catcher are shown in a file photo.

BradfordToday welcomes letters to the editor at [email protected]. Please include your full name, daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). The following poem from Barrie resident Alastair MacLeod is titled 'Empowering the Grave'. 

Tragedy disrupts rational thought.
It provokes, tortures, agonizes and distresses...wholly.
We have only to look to Calvary—Golgotha
But we must look the empty grave.

Yet graves themselves reveal tragedy;
Unleashing traumatic memory and pain.
Images of a past fraught with suffering;
Markers of a way of life lost...destroyed.

We dare not forget what the grave means for many;
For those who suffered and died...
Anonymous, without dignity; hidden & forgotten;
And for those compelled to remember.

We cannot, we must not forget the tragedy.
For we cannot undo the inhumanity inflicted.
But we can take tentative steps together
To enable those graves to speak.

We can embrace the grave for what God intended it.
Not as a place of shame, humiliation and death,
But as a symbol of renewal, forgiveness and rebirth;
“God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by His power.”

And through Jesus as Risen Lord who conquered death itself
We can resolve to heal by embracing His words.
“As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
Let the grave be our constant reminder.

“Love prospers when a fault is forgiven,
But dwelling on it separates good friends.”

It’s hard to hate the one you hug.

Alastair MacLeod