Prayer for The Missing

The Great Eternal Silence
By Aquinas T. Duffy

Missing in the darkness,
vanished without a trace,
with only the memories and photographs,
to fill an empty place.

Frequent prayer and fervent cries,
is there anyone there?
But the only sound
was the silent eternal fanfare.

For a long time
its deafening sound
subdued by a path
through lost and found.

Laughter and sorrow,
anguish and grief,
all the moments of a life
but with no relief.

Everything and nothing
one within and between all,
gentle, loving, pervading,
the eternal silence falls.

(The above was written in June 2000, arising out of the disappearance of Aquinas T. Duffy’s cousin, Aengus, and the setting up of a Missing Irish People website. Sometimes, we do not hear answers to our prayers, only apparent silence. But within that silence, there is always more to be discovered.)

Riddle over the missing
Nine days into the Rana Plaza tragedy, how many people still remain missing is a question officials cannot answer.

3 thoughts on “Prayer for The Missing

  1. Interesting choice of poem.

    the NYT published this very thoughtfully written article, that accesses the last hours of the women killed by a factory collapse and fire in 1860 in the USA.. Sometimes i think that transnational solidarity is more coherent than national ones

    The writer Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, a child at the time, remembered that the women still trapped in the blaze tried to sing to keep up their courage.

    “They were used to singing at their looms — mill girls always are — and their young souls took courage from the familiar sound of one another’s voices,” she would recall. “They sang the hymns and songs which they had learned in the schools and churches: ‘Heaven is my home,’ ‘Jesus, lover of my soul,’ and ‘Shall we gather at the river?’ Voice after voice dropped. The fire raced on.”

    1. Yes, the poem can be a ode to transnational solidarity. Solidarity that is class-based, without privileging religious/class intersections first and foremost above other forms of transnational alliances.

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