January 13, 2007

Noah was the last to go.
Discovered face down
hands still clenched
from the struggle for air.

Siblings Luke, then Paul
then John, then Mary
coaxed down the hallway,
into the tub
one at a time

each head held under
until bubbles
turned to silence.

In the end no frantic prayers answered.
No angel made Mommy stop.


20 Responses to “Noah”

  1. howard Says:

    I had almost forgotten about that story… your words bring it back quite effectively. I have to admit I wouldn’t have had the guts to write a piece like this.

  2. qazse Says:

    thanks howard, I’m wondering: what about this poem requires guts from your perspective?

  3. ezra Says:

    Yes it was a tragic event. The poem has some qualities such as the ambiguous relationship between the historical biblical characters and the American killing. In the poems conclusion were you referring to the absence of Gods interventional agency as proof of a atheistic universe or a comment on probability and contingency ratios embedded in the physical universe as a precondition for conditional autonomy of sentient beings?

  4. fencer Says:

    Hi qazse,

    To me, it’s not about an atheistic universe, but with respect to “God,” what is that idea, and what do we project upon it, for good or ill? I don’t know anything about the specifics of this story, but the Christian God seems bound up in the choice of names by this family, and perhaps their conception of all that is a part of the knot of this tragedy. Besides a really crazy mother…


  5. mikaelah Says:

    it seemed to me to be a courageous post and when you asked why it made me wonder too… why would I think that… and then the answer that came to me was that it seems to me that you would have to go there … you had to put yourself in that situation and experience it in your mind to write it out. To say it so well requires something of the one that says it.

  6. Bice Says:

    This was an excellent piece of writing Qazse. Powerful imagery. Strong, stark ending. Just outstanding.

  7. howard Says:

    “what about this poem requires guts from your perspective?”

    I was at a loss to answer your question, Qazse. Thankfully, Mikaelah went ahead and explained at least some of what I would have hoped to say in response. I have a hard time writing about really dark things when I don’t feel an intimate sense of the situation. While I’m sure I could write on such dark subjects, I don’t always feel like putting myself in that situation (to borrow Mikaelah’s wording).

    But with or without guts, it’s still an excellent piece of expression.

  8. qazse Says:

    ezra – to answer your question, neither. Everyday God watches the murder, rape, and abuse of myriad innocents. I wanted to take a specific actual event and describe what God witnessed. To me it is a central issue of belief. If God is a God of Love, then God would intervene if possible. My conclusion, either God is not a God of Love or God is not omnipotent. I prefer to live my life with a God who is not always able…but is always willing.

  9. qazse Says:

    fencer, here is the story

  10. qazse Says:

    mikaelah and howard – I asked because I wondered if there were some unconscious remnants of superstitious thinking. Because, it can be kinda scary for this catholic boy to write this stuff. There is this seed of fear that God might seek revenge: What if I am wrong and this God of Love can also be a prick?

    I hear you both saying that submersing oneself in this subject matter calls for courage. I agree; but – I think to myself – only a minuscule amount compared to the courage required to actually live it or do something about it.

    thank you for your compliments!

  11. qazse Says:

    Bice, thank you dude…

  12. AnnieElf Says:

    This event broke the heart of a nation. God does not create the evil but He does permit it. There are lessons to be learned everywhere and the death of these innocents started a national dialogue. Your poem is a powerful reminder that we must be more thoughtful of those we most intimately know and react when things do not seem right with them.

  13. qazse Says:

    well put AnnieElf. Most of us are raised to “mind your own business”. It is hard to overcome.

  14. zaphodfreek Says:

    It left me, indeed LEAVES me,
    quite out of breath.

  15. qazse Says:

    z-freek – can you imagine the cops who had to walk into that scene? We scorch cops a lot but they do put themselves between us and tons of shit.

  16. zaphodfreek Says:

    Over here in Ireland the police or ‘Gardaí’ as they’re known
    don’t get very much stick.
    Or at least, not that I know.
    I’ve always respected anyone who can keep their head
    in that sort of an enviroment.
    The same goes to the ones in this situation.

    I don’t actually know the story though.
    That’s possibly what shows how strong this poem is:
    I felt something very powerful
    something very wrong here,
    but not in your poetry.

  17. qazse Says:

    z-freek – several years ago (in the U.S.) a young mother named Andrea Yates drowned her children in the bathtub one at a time. She carried each one out dead and placed them on their beds. Except Noah – he was found face down in the tub.

    Do you ever watch the US tv show called COPS? Are your Gardai the same or different?

  18. zaphodfreek Says:

    That’s harsh.
    I pretty much summed that up from the poem.

    Yeah, the Gardaí are just the police or the cops.
    Except they’re Irish so they’re not quite as exciting.
    And….well, yeah. They are.

  19. lqz Says:

    qazse, “If God is a God of Love, then God would intervene if possible. My conclusion, either God is not a God of Love or God is not omnipotent.”

    What is love?

    If God made the choices you would like then you would be God.
    I would not want to live in a world were God takes away free will when it’s inconvenient. Because free will is always inconvenient to someone.

  20. qazse Says:

    Andrea Yates was suffering from psychosis. Her free will was biochemically distorted.

    It is said that God loves us as a father. I am a father and know what that kind of love is. I would never let my innocent child walk into traffic even if they wanted to. If my grown children want to join the military it is their choice.

    God asks us to not kill and to do unto others as we would have others do to us. I would suspect that as a father he would also live by those commands.

    I don’t think free will has to always be inconvenient to someone. For example, when I give to the poor, it is no inconvenience. It is a spiritually gratifying act.

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