RACHEL

Rachel is mourning again for her children,

not in far Bethlehem where carnage came to innocents,

but in Newtown, where first-graders were gunned down.

Yes, gunned down, because we kill so many children

year by blood-soaked year with weapons meant for war or self-defense

but seized upon by raging men who get them, oh, so easily.

We are the species so grand in virtue, so terrible in crime.

We are the species so capable of wondrous goodness, so depraved in violence.

But we are the species that rises from tragedy and strikes back with a love

that will not give hate and weapons the last word.

Let the lights of Hanukkah just past and Christmas just ahead

inspire goodness and a bright, shining love for all our children.

BENJAMIN J. HUBBARD is professor emeritus of comparative religion at Cal State Fullerton. He lives in Costa Mesa.