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Why Do Good People Die?
A massive mudslide took the lives of at least 18 people in Oso, Washington. Every day on the news, similar stories are repeated. How such tragedies can happen to “good” people is a question we all ask ourselves — without answer. Thus, the inspiration for this poem. Interestingly, every time I now watch a tragic news story this poem pops into my mind. I’ve also realized it’s my only poem written in 6/8 time, and although very “dark” — is slowly becoming a favorite.
©2014 by Jon Gutmacher
Why oh why
do good people die?
The question we ask
while families cry

No traverse
No bad word
No slander or lie
They did not deserve
but yet
they did die

And ponder, we ponder
we cannot understand
why good people die
it seems out of hand

Yet evil ones live
and greed does it thrive
and thieves steal at will
yet good people die

Who makes all these choices?
Who stands to protect?
Who stifles the evil?
The accident
and wreck?

Are there no angels?
Is there no God?
Why take the innocent?
The answer – so hard

Is life all just random?
Is there no plan?
If we all lead a good life
or if we are damned

Are all of us subject
to the same random chance?
That a car crash might take us
or a stray avalanche?

I don’t have an answer
I’m tired of the news
and if I stop believing
will I also lose?

The freedom of life
The freedom of choice
The freedom that chance
will stifle my voice?

And yet I go on
as all of us do
I tend to believe
and see most things through

It all makes no sense
if there is no plan
sometimes there’s just Faith
I believe what I can

Though often I’ll wonder
what all does it mean
and turn off the TV
those stories too mean

And look at the stars
and look at the sky
hear the roar of the ocean
the clouds passing by

And feel all the beauty
of another person’s hand
a kiss, sweet as honey
this, I understand

It’s the beauty of life
and all that it gives
so savor each moment
each moment you live

For if all is just random
or all is a plan
We still go through life
I am what I am

And wake in the morning
and sleep through the night
and hope that my life . . .
will always be


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