The Common Good

For Troy Davis

troy-davi-amnest-intl-photoTroy Anthony Davis died at 11:08 p.m. EST, Sept. 21,2011.

UPDATE: I originally posted this shortly after 7 p.m. EST. Then came the news that Troy's execution would be delayed until the U.S. Supreme Court could issue a response to a last-minute request to stay it.

Three-and-a-half hours of hope and prayers later, SCOTUS refuses to block Troy's execution.

Word now (at 10:35 p.m. EST) that the execution will take place within the half-hour.

Mercy, Lord.


Death row inmate Troy Davis is scheduled to be executed in Georgia at 7 p.m. EST today.

As I write this post, it is 7:10 p.m. EST.


Mr. Davis is heavy on my heart as I imagine he is on the hearts and minds of many thousands of people who never knew him personally, but have prayed that he be spared such a fate.

What would you say to him now if you could? What could anyone say to a man minutes from away from death?

I thought only of the words of an Irish sage.

A poem, called "The Eyes of Jesus," from the late John O'Donohue's beautiful book of blessings and prayers, To Bless This Space Between Us:

I imagine the eyes of Jesus
Were harvest brown,
The light of their gazing
Suffused with the seasons:

The shadow of winter,
The mind of spring,
The blues of summer,
And amber of harvest.

A gaze that is perfect sister
To the kindness
that dwells
In his beautiful hands.

The eyes of Jesus gaze on us,
Stirring in the heart's clay
The confidence of seasons
That never lose their way
to harvest.

This gaze knows
the signature
Of our heartbeat, the first glimmer from the dawn that dreamed our minds,

The crevices where thoughts grow long before the longing in the bone
Sends them towards
the mind's eye,

The artistry of the emptiness
That knows to slow the hunger
Of outside things until they weave
Into the twilight side of the heart,

A gaze full of all that is still future
Looking out for us to glimpse
The jeweled light
in winter stone,

Quickening the eyes that look at us
To see through to where words are blind to say
what we would love,

Forever falling softly on our faces,
His gaze plies the soul
with light,
Laying down a luminous layer

Beneath our brief
and brittle days until
the appointed dawn comes
Assured and harvest deft

To unravel the last black knot
And we are back home
in the house
That we have never left.

May God be close to God's child, Troy, this night and for the rest of his journey.

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