By Michael McGrath

Thich Nhat Hanh has died.
Breathe in the beauty of life;
Breathe out and stop.
This moment I feel the loss.
That moment I felt the joy
of life having a purpose
of living having a goal.
Great fire! Explosions!
Death falling from the sky!
Murderous intentions
Destroy a people.
I would sit with the killers,
I would breathe in with them,
I would breathe out with them,
Their hearts would change
to great compassion.
If we can bear such sorrow,
the loss of happiness, peace,
there is no choice.
Only release of possessing
Exhaling all ego, inhaling all …

—Michael McGrath, a lifelong pacifist (and retired scientist), recalls that after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a reporter asked Thich Nhat Hanh what he would do about those tragedies, and he said he would sit with the attackers and share silence with them. ©2022 Michael McGrath, Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 4.0 International License.