All You Who Sleep Tonight

Last night my gaze fell upon a poetry book sitting on my shelves. It’s a book a friend gave to me a couple of years ago and it’s been resting there for a while. The thing that caught my attention was a yellow post-it note sticking out from between its pages. I’m pretty sure the last time I looked at the book there was no yellow post-it note. Intrigued, I turned to the marked page and this is what I found.

All You Who Sleep Tonight

All you who sleep tonight
Far from the ones you love,
No hand to left or right,
And emptiness above —

Know that you aren’t alone.
The whole world shares your tears,
Some for two nights or one,
And some for all their years.

— Vikram Seth

Thank you, my mystery post-it-note-sticking friend.

I’ve been thinking about the scheduled executions of the two Australians in Bali and about how wrong it is that we could ever find justification for taking another’s life. I believe in justice and a penal system that protects the values of our society, but knowing what death and intense grief bring, I do not understand how we could ever inflict this pain intentionally on others, no matter their wrong-doings. A death penalty forms no part of my values system. I fundamentally oppose the idea of it and would like to state that #Istandformercy. I am just one small, insignificant voice but tonight, if I could, I would tell the families of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan that I, along with the majority of the world, share their tears. And if all our small, insignificant voices could unite, perhaps our combined roar of protest would somehow reach the ears of those who need to hear it most.

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11 comments

  1. Com sempre Hanna….la teva sensibilitat per sobre de les paraules. Jo també hi afegeixo la meva veu , moltes petites veus poden fer un gran crit !!!

    As always, Hanna …. your sensitivity about words. I also add my voice, many small voices can make a big scream !!!

  2. Have missed your words and expression and insight. I hope things are a little brighter.
    Thank you for writing again x

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