The Scale

Let us look at how we value violence

As a path to behavioral societal corrections

As part of necessary sacrifices

Let us assess our own silence

By measuring the connections

Between our comfort and its ever-raising prices

The costs stem from the choice

To view violence as a problem’s viable solution

Without acknowledging to the maimed and the buried

There is never restitution

We make the pivot to violence causally

We put it into games and entertainments

We view it as a path to power and strength

Instead of as one the souls most damaging contaminants

Sometimes judgement is the mirror

The sentence a song you hear in your head

Now the singer’s voice is growing clearer

Lilting the names of the dead

Maybe you know one among them

From Fallujah or Ferguson

From Aleppo to Attica

Maybe your fist is clenched

As you look upon the protests

Maybe your heart is wrenched

Seeing the agony and the tears of the oppressed

Maybe we start today

Acknowledging a scale that weighs our choices

And that the price we might pay

Is our loved one’s silenced voices?

Gene G. McLaughlin 2020


The burden is shared

Such a thing alone is heavy

The pull to decide before the end

Is strong

Pushed away by will and effort

As the tale unfolds

The impact upon all

Is clearly visible

There is a tangible

Feeling of relief

When we are called to judge

Justice does not feel

Like I thought it would

Vindication or truth

Are the crux of making something

Whole and complete

They do not

Displace the damage

That cannot be undone

We deliver the words

Filtering out when dismissed

Back into our world

Away from that where

Someone’s world

Has forever changed

Gene G. McLaughlin 2013