Towards Dawn

One psychiatrist offers hope and a prayer for humanity as we enter the New Year.

Each time human beings turn against one another, there is a tragic news headline. Each time we read these headlines, we are horrified—then angry, then frustrated, and eventually apathetic. We turn to our loved ones and hold on tight in the hope that we may never be the direct victims of such events. Yet the events continue, relentlessly, and each time, they are closer to home. This poem offers hope and a prayer for the New Year.

Towards Dawn

A bunch of us left home one morning……...

Some of us turned towards the dark

The anger

The hate

The panic

And the confusion

Guided by demons

Outside and within

We drove vehicles into crowds

Pulled triggers on guns

Lit fires

Broke and destroyed

To be lost

Forever

And never make it home

Some of us turned towards the light

The discipline

The duty

The work

And the clarity

Guided by empathy

We continued our daily tasks

To help and to heal

To learn and to teach

To impact and reach

And then to return

Tired and grateful

Back home

What happened to us?

We all started in the same womb

Warmed by the same sun

Fed by the same Earth

Nurtured by the same rain

What made some look for the dark

And others walk towards the light?

Did we not hear the same words as we watched the rain come down?

Was love not found in all our neighborhoods?

Did the fear of hunger drive away the need for friendships?

Was loneliness pushing us to kill?

When did the demons find us?

And where were the angels meant to drive them away?

This New Year’s Day

Let us look around

For the face that smiles less

Or maybe not at all

For the home that has less light

Or maybe none at all

For the table that lies empty

Or maybe there is no table at all

In our classrooms

Let us find the child that

Sits alone

In our offices

Let us find the one that

Speaks to none

In our lives

Let us find the one who

Is wanted the least

Let us try

Try to reach

To feed

To light

To enlighten

And to teach

Let us try

Try to love

To engage

To know

And be known

Let us try to make a friend

With one we may have walked past

Or even worse

Not known they existed

Maybe we just saved a life…..

Maybe we just saved many…….

While the custodians of peace

Sit in their cushioned chairs

And plan for seats of power

Let us assume we have to protect our peace

This New Year’s Day

Let us at least

Try

One bullet less

One wreck less

One life saved

One home rebuilt

Let us try………………

Dr Sethi is a psychiatrist in private practice in McLean, Virginia.