The Walls Bear WitnessFor the massacre at St. Peter's Lutheran Church
Monrovia, Liberia, June 1990
By Jackson H. Day, Columbia, Maryland, September 10, 2000
Refugees gathered in the courtyard of the church school before the massacre.
The walls bear witness:
Stained plaster, agonized crimson handprints
Carry the memory of extinguished life.
A few books remain in the library; blood colors the walls.
The books bear witness.
They were there, on the shelves in the library, helpless above the blood:
Filled with wisdom and important thoughts
Intended to give life, but unable to prevent death.
After the massacre: bloodstained floor of the sanctuary.
The chapel bears witness:
A sanctuary violated, penetrated by immense evil -
Five hundred who sought safety gone, gone,
Leaving only poured blood and fragments of bone.
Blood stains the walls of the church's chancel.
The mural bears witness
Christ above the altar, loving, outstretched hands:
The mural saw it all, everything, everything.
"Where were you?" the mural asks. "Where were you?"
The church's spire overlooks a courtyard that is now a graveyard.
The spire bears witness
Fulfilling the mission great evil could not see:
Pointing upward to the sky -
Sunshine, freedom, peace.
Jackson H. Day
September 10, 2000
An artist painted a Cambodian village before the arrival of the Khmer Rouge
The Cambodian village, hands reaching up from the earth, as the Khmer Rouge depart.
©2000 Jackson H. Day. All Rights Reserved.
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