Now You Know the Worst
by Wendell Barry
Now you know the worst
We humans have to know
About ourselves, and I am sorry
For I know that you will be afraid.
To those of our bodies given
Without pity to be burned, I know
There is no answer
But loving one another,
Even our enemies, and this is hard.
When a man of war becomes a man of peace,
He gives a light, divine
Though it is also human.
When a man of peace is killed
By a man of war, he gives a light.
You do not have to walk in darkness,
If you will have the courage for love,
You may walk in light.
It will be the light of those who have suffered
For peace. It will be your light.
(From A Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems, 1979-1997)