The HyperTexts

Columbine Poems

Some of the poems on this page were written by family members of students who died at Columbine. I have also included poems and quotes by one of the students, Rachel Joy Scott, who loved poetry and wanted to be a writer. Other poems on this page were written by poets who mourn the senseless tragedy.

compiled by Michael R. Burch, an editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry

Related pages: Nashville Covenant Poems, Santa Fe Poems, Sandy Hook Poems, Aurora Poems, Columbine Poems, Courtni Webb's Sandy Hook Poem and Possible Expulsion, Darfur Poems, Gaza Poems, Haiti Poems, Hiroshima Poems, Holocaust Poems, Nakba Poems, 911 Poems, Trail of Tears

This lovely, touching poem was written for Rachel Joy Scott by her cousin and close friend Sarah Scott:

Angel of Mine
by Sarah Scott

Looking down, seeing despair
Only leaving a soul searching for air
Feeling the warmth, seeing the light
Reaching for wings for the eternal flight
Slipping away from this world today
Angel of mine you've found your way.
Let my love be the wind beneath your wing
As you rejoice in heaven and sing.
Angel of mine
Your face will make the heavens so bright
With your beauty, grace, and loving spirit.

I have this theory
that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion,
then it will start a chain reaction of the same.
People will never know how far a little kindness can go.
—Rachel Joy Scott

Here is an inspirational quote by Rachel Joy Scott that has not only become a poem, but a form of visual art:

Just passing by
Just coming through
Not staying long
I always knew
This home I have
Will never last
—Rachel Joy Scott

Darrell Scott is the father of Rachel Joy Scott, the first of the thirteen victims of the Columbine High School massacre. Rachel was a beautiful 17-year-old girl, and an aspiring writer and actress. Her father wrote the poetic lines below four days before speaking to Congress on the subject of the mass killings of students and teachers, the role of the NRA, and gun control:

Your laws ignore our deepest needs
Your words are empty air.
You've stripped away our heritage.
You've outlawed simple prayer.

Now gunshots fill our classrooms.
And precious children die.
You seek for answers everywhere.
And ask the question "WHY"? ...

Darrell Scott has helped create an organization called Rachel's Challenge, which works to combat school violence and bullying.

Before she died, Rachel Scott drew this haunting picture with thirteen tears that may have prophesied her fate, and the fate of the other victims. But perhaps the flower being watered by the tears symbolizes love and compassion ... did Rachel predict that her death and those of her friends would lead to a new flowering of love and compassion?

Rachel's Tears

Here are some of the comments written on Rachel's casket by her friends and loved ones ...

Rachel's Casket: an Outpouring of Love and Affection

Darrell Scott's following remarks were made before the subcommittee on crime of the House Judiciary Committee at the Rayburn House office building in Washington, D.C. on May 27, 1999. Here are excerpts from his testimony:

"Since the dawn of creation, there has been both good and evil in the heart of men and of women. We all contain the seeds of kindness or the seeds of violence.
The death of my wonderful daughter Rachel Joy Scott and the deaths of that heroic teacher and the other eleven children who died must not be in vain. Their blood cries out for answers. The first recorded act of violence was when Cain slew his brother Abel out in the field ... My daughter's death will not be in vain. The young people of this country will not allow that to happen ... The young people of our nation hold the key. There is a spiritual awakening taking place that will not be squelched! We do not need more religion. We do not need more gaudy television evangelists spewing out verbal religious garbage. We do not need more million dollar church buildings built while people with basic needs are being ignored ..."

I hope and pray that Darrell Scott is correct, and that young Americans and the parents and other adults who love them will not allow the mayhem and carnage in our school halls to continue. Darrell Scott, as I understand him, has called for a spiritual awakening, but I'm afraid that mass murderers are not spiritual people, nor are they even mildly influenced by calls for compassion and justice. So I believe we really do need stronger gun control laws, to keep assault weapons out of their hands. I have written poems of my own, which I have dedicated to the victims and survivors of Columbine ...

Epitaph for a Child of Columbine
by Michael R. Burch

I lived as best I could, and then I died.
Be careful where you step: the grave is wide.

For a Columbine Child, with Butterflies
by Michael R. Burch

Where does the butterfly go
when lightning rails, when thunder howls,
when hailstones scream while winter scowls
and nights compound dark frosts with snow?
Where does the butterfly go?

Where does the rose hide its bloom
when night descends oblique and chill
beyond the capacity of moonlight to fill?
When the only relief's a banked fire's glow,
where does the butterfly go?

And where shall the spirit flee
when life is harsh, too harsh to face,
and hope is lost without a trace?
Oh, when the light of life runs low,
where does the butterfly go?

I Pray Tonight, for the Columbine Survivors
by Michael R. Burch

I pray tonight
the starry light
surround you.

I pray
each day
that, come what may,
no dark thing confound you.

I pray ere the morrow
an end to your sorrow.
May angels' white chorales
sing, and astound you.

Columbine Call to Love
by Michael R. Burch

Our hearts are broken today
for our children's small bodies lie broken;
let us gather them up, as we may,
that the truth of our Love may be spoken;
then, when we have put them away
to nevermore dream, or be woken,
let us think of the living, and pray
for true Love, not some miserable token,
to command us, for strength to obey.

Columbine Call to Action
by Michael R. Burch

We see their small coffins
and our hearts break,
so we ask the NRA—
"Did you make a mistake?"
And we vow to save the next child
for sweet love's sake,
but also to protect ourselves
from enduring such heartache.

Create in me
Invest in me
I will create my own dream,
my own image, my own future.
No one else can do that for me.
—signed Rachel Joy in her journal, in which she wrote immediately above the poem, in prose: "I am my own responsibility. Feel no obligation, because I will be no one's success story but my own."

Spurred on in part by writings in the notebooks and diaries left behind by his daughter, Darrell Scott — the son of an Episcopalian minister, though he himself is adamantly non-denominational — quit his job, set up a non-profit organization called The Columbine Redemption, and embarked on a grueling schedule of speaking engagements all across the United States to spread his message.

On May 2nd, Rachel wrote in her journal: “This is my last year Lord. I have gotten what I can. Thank you.” She also drew a picture, known as Rachel’s Tears; it has two eyes with thirteen tears falling down. Her parents believe that Rachel somehow knew that she and twelve other people were going to die within a year.

Darrell Scott said: "Rachel had a unique way of tilting her head to the side when she was thinking seriously. And I remember her beautiful smile. Rachel had an inward motivation to accomplish as much as possible. Whenever she sensed an injustice being done to someone, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant it was, indignation rose up within her. She was always ready to stand up for anyone who she felt was mistreated."

According to Dana Scott, Rachel's big sister, she had a great sense of humor. She once recorded a voicemail on their home phone that said, “You have reached Queen Rachel and her humble servants … please leave a message after the beep.” Her middle name, Joy, was truly one of the best ways to describe her fun-loving personality.

Rachel's Challenge was started by Rachel's dad and stepmom, Darrell and Sandy Scott, when they realized that the writings and drawings Rachel left not only had an impact on her friends and classmates, but also resonated with students around the world. Although Rachel was a typical teenager who wrote about her "ups and downs," she had a passion and conviction that she would someday change the world. The Scott family knew her story and passion had to be told to inspire others to make their world a better place. More than 18 million people have been touched by Rachel's message, and they continue the legacy of making a difference in their communities. Each year at least two million more people are added to that number. In one survey, 78% of students indicated they would definitely intervene in a bullying incident in their school after seeing Rachel's Challenge. In a recent 24 month period, Rachel's Challenge received more than 450 emails from students who indicated that they changed their mind about taking their own life after hearing Rachel's Challenge.

Rachel's Challenge is a non-profit, non-political, non-religious organization based in Littleton, Colorado, a suburb of Denver.

"A Revolver" is a newly-discovered, unpublished and previously unknown poem by Carl Sandburg. Although it was written decades before Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Sandy Hook and Parkland, the poem seems highly relevant and might have been written just a few minutes ago and addressed to the "religious right," the NRA and its powerful gun lobby. "A Revolver" was discovered among Sandburg’s archives, which are housed in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

A Revolver
by Carl Sandburg

Here is a revolver.
It has an amazing language all its own.
It delivers unmistakable ultimatums.
It is the last word.
A simple, little human forefinger can tell a terrible story with it.
Hunger, fear, revenge, robbery hide behind it.
It is the claw of the jungle made quick and powerful.
It is the club of the savage turned to magnificent precision.
It is more rapid than any judge or court of law.
It is less subtle and treacherous than any one lawyer or ten.
When it has spoken, the case can not be appealed to the supreme
     court, nor any mandamus nor any injunction nor any stay of ex-
     ecution come in and interfere with the original purpose.
And nothing in human philosophy persists more strangely than the
     old belief that God is always on the side of those who have the
     most revolvers.

Related pages: Nashville Covenant Poems, Santa Fe Poems, Sandy Hook Poems, Aurora Poems, Columbine Poems, Courtni Webb's Sandy Hook Poem and Possible Expulsion, Darfur Poems, Gaza Poems, Haiti Poems, Hiroshima Poems, Holocaust Poems, Nakba Poems, 911 Poems, Trail of Tears

The HyperTexts