In the context of the recent incident in Florida where a "neighborhood watch captain" followed and shot a young black man returning from a convenience store, the text of the third movement of our new piece struck me.
Before I get to that, I want to say that as a community policing volunteer in Oakland, I am disgusted by George Zimmerman. Any real Neighborhood Watch volunteer would know his neighbors well enough to be aware of their visiting relatives, and would understand who "has a right" to be walking around in the neighborhood. That's what Neighborhood Watch is about. George Zimmerman appears to have had no idea that "his" gated neighborhood could legitimately have a young black man walking around in it - which means he didn't know the neighborhood very well, did he?
But I digress. A lot of Dona Nobis Pacem is set to poetry by Walt Whitman. I had forgotten how great Whitman's poetry is. The third movement uses this eloquent text:
Word over all, beautiful as the sky,Does George Zimmerman really feel that Trayvon Williams is not "a man divine as myself," merely because the face in the coffin is brown and not white?? If he does, what a terrible judgment on us all that we allowed him to learn to think that way.
Beautiful that war and all its deeds of carnage must in time be utterly lost,
That the hands of the sisters Death and Night incessantly, softly, wash again and ever again this soiled world;
For my enemy is dead, a man divine as myself is dead,
I look where he lies white-faced and still in the coffin -- I draw near,
Bend down and touch lightly with my lips the white face in the coffin.