For Lori Kaye and Riley Howell

I sing in praise of Lori Gilbert Kaye.
When racist hatred paid a deadly call
On Congregation Chabad of Poway,
She stood and “took a bullet for us all.”
I sing of Riley Howell of UNC.
“He knew” exactly “what he had to do,”
And died while giving hell the third degree;
A brave and selfless, one-man wrecking crew.
Yet even as I sing their praise, I grieve
The loss of lives far nobler than my own;
Whose tragic deaths inspire me to believe
That evil can, by love, be overthrown.
They freely gave all that they had to give,
And died so folks like me and you can live.



James A. Tweedie is a recently retired pastor living in Long Beach, Washington. He likes to walk on the beach with his wife. He has written and self-published four novels and a collection of short stories. He has several hundred unpublished poems tucked away in drawers.

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10 Responses

  1. C.B. Anderson

    Nicely turned, James. You are one of the bright lights here at SCP, and I always look forward to your submissions and your comments on other submissions. If I might compare you to a fine wine, you age well. Since I still engage in physical labor on a daily basis, I wish I could have aged half as well as you have done on a regular basis. Your work and your criticisms are always weighty, and I can’t get enough of them.

    • James Sale

      I totally agree with you, CB: James A.T. is a bright light on the pages of the SCP. His comments are balanced and without rancour or malice; and his poetry is either stimulating or great fun. Thank you.

  2. James A. Tweedie

    TY, C.B. Your kind words are appreciated. If I am, as you suggest, a “bright light,” then I am content to let that light shine on Lori and Riley as they take a bow on center stage. Any applause should be for them.

  3. David Watt

    James, the universal themes of courage and selflessness are illustrated adroitly, and with sensitivity, in this piece. Well done.

  4. E. V.

    Thank you! Let your words (in lieu of the shooters’ names) be recorded in the pages of history. You’ve composed a worthy tribute to two heroic people.

    • C.B. Anderson

      E.V., a niggling point on your last word. It should be “persons,” not “people.”



    tears of angels cascade down
    on this most hallowed week
    Christians mourning in Sri Lanka
    joyful Easter turned bleak

    Jews sitting Shiva in California
    Passover Seder suspended
    terror in houses of worship
    religious freedoms upended

    • James A. Tweedie

      Thank you, Lucy, for adding your poetic tears to the thread. Sri Lanka represents yet another sad and tragic assault on religious worship. Although in recent years such attacks around the world have been primarily directed at Christians, Muslims and Jews have also been targeted both in the United States and elsewhere. We must never cease weeping for for such things, until the day comes at last when God “will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4 At least that is how I see it.

  6. traffic people

    Kendrick Castillo, Joshua Jones, and Brendan Bialy. Riley Howell. Anthony Borges, Peter Wang, and Aaron Feis. Lori Gilbert-Kaye, Oscar Stewart, and Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz. Jesse Lewis. James Shaw Jr. Abdul Aziz. Stephen Willeford and Johnnie Langendorff. Bryan Whittle and Juan Carlos Nazario. Shannon Johnson. And more.


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