"The Cause is the Heart's Beat": See Father Berrigan Recite His Poem "Some" in 2006

May 02, 2016


Daniel Berrigan

priest, poet, pacifist, educator, social activist, playwright and lifelong resister to what he called "American military imperialism." Father Dan Berrigan played an instrumental role in inspiring the antiwar and antidraft movement during the late 1960s, as well as the movement against nuclear weapons. He was the first Catholic priest to land on the FBI’s most wanted list.

In addition to being a legendary antiwar priest, organizer and activist, the late Father Dan Berrigan was also an inspiring poet. In 2006, when hundreds gathered in New York to mark his 85th birthday, he recited one of his best-loved poems, "Some."


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to end with Dan in his own words, Father Dan. In 2006, hundreds gathered in New York to mark his 85th birthday. Father Dan recited one of his best-loved poems, "Some."

FATHER DANIEL BERRIGAN: And this poem was played before tonight, but I’d like to dedicate it to all of us, all of us who come here and who keep at it. "Some."

Some stood up once, and sat down.
Some walked a mile, and walked away.

Some stood up twice, then sat down.
"I’ve had it," they said.
Some walked two miles, then walked away.
"It’s too much," they cried.

Some stood and stood and stood.
They were taken for fools,
they were taken for being taken in.

Some walked and walked and walked
they walked the earth,
they walked the waters,
they walked the air.

"Why do you walk?" they were asked, and
"Why do you stand?"

"Because of the children," they said, and
"Because of the heart," and
"Because of the bread,"

“Because the cause is
the heart’s beat, and
the children born, and
the risen bread."

Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: Father Dan Berrigan on the occasion of his 85th birthday. He died this weekend, just shy of his 95th birthday. And that does it for our program. Very special thanks to Frida Berrigan, his niece; Bill Quigley, his former lawyer; and his dear friend Father John Dear. That does it for today’s show. We’ll continue our conversation and post it online at

We’re on a 100-city speaking tour. I’m speaking tonight in Sarasota, Florida, at the Unitarian Church, then Tuesday night in Atlanta, on Wednesday in Spokane. You can check our website at

I’m Amy Goodman. Special thanks to Jeremy Scahill, Denis Moynihan, Mike Burke. Thanks for joining us.

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