once again by James K. Zimmerman

Once again and once again
if only once again your eyes
could open, eyes could see
no need for lambs, for lambs
to slaughter, for martyrs
mothers, fathers, teachers
children once again

Do you listen? Can you hear?
Again and once again
do you need the darkness
hardened hearts, helpless
shrugs, no light to shine, no
light to shine once again?

Do you listen? Can you hear?
Once again and once again
they are children, they are ours
they are yours, they are
someone’s children once again

Again and never again, never
Columbine, Virginia Tech
Giffords and Aurora, Sandy Hook
Fort Hood, Charleston, Umpqua
San Bernadino, Pulse, Las Vegas
and now Parkland, once again

Once again and once again and
never again, help us, help us
they say, no more, but you say
they are only children, ones
who ran, ones who hid

Ones who will not run away
again, once again and again

Do you listen? Can you hear?
Do you feel again the need to run
the need to hide, a nod, a helpless
shrug, thoughts and prayers
you say, pretended sympathy
with eyes that do not see
that do not want to see


but your hands are open
eyes are open to money
over lives, power over heart
you run away once again
and again and again and

Never again, the children say
Never again once again