7Jul '11
Dresden after bombing

Dresden Sonnet

Our Dresden lives can be rebuilt with stone
Reconstituted from the stolen years
Our past dictators can be overthrown
And grey eyes dried to weep afresh new tears
The cry for vengeance, seeking teeth for teeth
Must now be silenced, if we will be free.
Which target should our hateful rage receive?
Some bombs were dropped by them and some by me.
The city, razed, a rubric for tomorrow
Surviving, let us then those years condemn:
Do not in smoking ashes sit and wallow
But rebuild,and build, and build, rebuild again.
When Second Temple spires scratch the skies
Let prayers, forgiving our oppressors, rise.

Dresden was carpet-bombed by the Allies near the end of WWII.  “If it had been any other city, it would have slid into obscurity,” writes journalist Tim Hughes.  “But Dresden is not any other city.”  It has been painstakingly reconstructed, block by block, brick by brick, from the old stone left in rubble by the attack.

This seemed to me an excellent metaphor to use for the hope of personal restoration which I believe is central to the gospel of grace.  “History does not determine destiny” as my pastor often says; and if that is to be true for our lives, then a period of difficult, perhaps painful rebuilding must take place, and forgiveness is essential to make that process a success.

I decided that the English Sonnet would be a good form to use for this work as it requires a methodical, measured approach to get the metre and rhyme structure just right – you can’t just throw the words together.  It takes time, effort and determination – just like the personal restoration I’m trying to describe, and seeking to live out myself.

Image Credit: Wikimedia commons

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