The Winding Cloth

The electronic revolution increasingly knits us all on planet Earth into a common consciousness, a common memory. It also makes possible an increasing degree of empathy across the barriers of race, class, language, geography, and religion. We suffer together even as we hope together.

As the horrific death of over a thousand people in the recent collapse of the textile factory in Bangladesh pulsed into our lives, we were both in pain at the carnage and elated by the survival of one courageous woman.

In this world of instant communication we are bound in one cloth, one body, whether it is in breathing the polluted, heat-trapping air, eating the dwindling fish from the acidifying oceans, weeping with the people of Newtown, or struggling with our response to fellow human beings in conflict in Congo or Syria.

The sense of mutual entanglement and obligation can suffocate us in guilt or anxiety. It can also give us a renewed sense of collaboration, of mutual inspiration, and common humanity.

It is against this deep sense of our implication in this common web of suffering, mutual obligation, and hope that I share this poem, which emerged as my response to the events in Bangladesh.

Bangled on our shoulders

wrapped around our waists



the cloth

winds over seas


2 thoughts on “The Winding Cloth”

  1. Social consciousness is the royal road not to the unconscious but to social justice. Your poetry is both a powerful reminder as well as an continuing to the latter. A continuing thanks for both. Tim

  2. What a wonderful set of powerful words woven together in such exquisite fashion! Thank you Bill for touching our hearts with such a gripping protrayal of the tragedy in Bangladesh.

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