All Souls Day

All Souls Day

Some lives have a resolute, earnest design.
On the Night of All Souls, in  two thousand and nine
Three elderly women, and two ancient men
Prayed in the light of the full moon, and then
Cut a hole in a chain-link fence, stepped through the space
And onto the  Kilsap-Bangor Naval Base.

There was Sister Montgomery, now eighty-three
“Who’ll  take on  this work if we don’t?”  declared  she.
“That’s what religions were set up to do
Though the spirit’s been lost through the ages, it’s true”.

Bill Bischel, at  eighty-one, Jesuit priest
Was powered by Jesus’s love for the least
And deep in his pocket  what  fired his will
Were some  ashes, remains of  the martyr, Joe Hill.

Susan Crane entered next and with no hesitation.
She’d  built, at the Pentagon Metro station
A giant cross, bearing   a man in a hood
To accuse those who tortured whoever they could.

Steven Kelly, who’d picketed, trespassed and fasted
The vile Military Commissions Act  blasted
Spent six years  in jail, solitary for three
Jumped through the hole, keen for what was to be.

Lynne  Greewald, a nurse, then completed the  band
And they started their trek over perilous land
After four weary miles, wire-cutters and thistles
They came to the stockpile of dread Trident missiles.

Spilling blood,”Into plowshares they’ll hammer their swords
And their spears into pruning hooks”…Isaiah’s words
They  recited. Dawn found them with peace in their breasts
As a Navy patrol came to make the arrests.

Of their trial, the jury could make little sense:
It concerned, said the judge, just the Naval Base fence.
Those evil colossi,the Tridents themselves
Aprowl in the deep, and the continents’ shelves

One hundred and ninety two warheads apiece
Which can circle the earth minutes after release
Six thousand  Hiroshimas each warhead hurled
Destroying in an instant the entire world-

This was all disallowed, said the judge, quoting law
The jury knew nothing, these facts never saw.
So the five went to prison. But, strange to relate
Their act was so simple, their path was so straight
To the weapons of evil, a system insane
Transfixing a jury, infarcting its brain
And blinding them to the unspeakable crime:
To seize  secrets of Nature, God’s gifts over time

And twist them to engineer Nature’s demise-
That their deed, and that night, to mythology flies
And gives light to a dark world, in hours of need
And, as they desired, bequeaths us a Seed.

Ellen Taylor can be reached at