Where We Are

Lost in a haunted wood,

Children afraid of the night

Who have never been happy or good

W. H. Auden, in "September 1, 1939"




I sit in my two-room flat

In the Mystic River Valley,
Far from the flare and seethe
Of Minneapolis,
Far from wrenching sobs
Over a noble heart

Stopped by lawless forces,
Far from the Potomac
Where booted troops in black
Take aim at peaceful faces.

Wystan Auden's lines

From eighty years ago

Hand down, in polished cadence,

Their accurate indictment

Of a demagogic age.
It is not prayer that keeps
My soul's precarious poise,
But a poet's wisest voice
Who during his dire time
Decried the tyrant State.

Now, as then, the barflies
Do what they do best:
They drink another drink
At the nettling behest
Of petty wounds and grudges.
On the wide screen, a bully
Blurts his compulsive spite;

Democracy lies sick:
Bible-and-rifle mobs

Strut around the deathbed.

What, at last, will rouse us

To the never-slumbering threat

Of hydra-headed Hate,
Us privileged bystanders

Who felt for far too long
That cries against injustice
Were shrill and rude and vulgar?
We might have even thought
That broken windows matter,
But Black Lives, not so much.

Hell's most appalling crimes
Are perpetrated calmly:
A knee pressing a neck
As rescue doesn't budge.
A suffering son of God

Fights to say, I can't breathe,

Then, with his last choked word,
Calls to his dead mother
To lead him out of pain
And into her embrace.

All I have is a voice,
Sometimes not even that,
Struck to shame and shock
By the day's atrocities,

By those who shrug them off.
My conscience now commands
That I strive to speak from love,

But better still, to listen

And learn from those who know:

To listen, learn, and act.

Poetry by Thomas D The PoetBay support member heart!
Read 219 times
Written on 2020-06-12 at 07:47

dott Save as a bookmark (requires login)
dott Write a comment (requires login)
dott Send as email
dott Print text

F.i.in.e Moods The PoetBay support member heart!
So much emotion, such a message from the heart, englobes the horrors all the while wraps it in love for a call for much needed change. Eloquently put, echoes what I imagine is where everyone's hopes lie at this point. Certainly mine do. Thanks so much for sharing this. PS: I read Auden's poem you reference, and I much enjoyed it. He'd be shaking his head now too with what's going on, I'm sure...

Lawrence Beck The PoetBay support member heart!
Nicely done, Tom.

bibek adhikari The PoetBay support member heart!
A fine example of a protest poem. The way poets see and pen the current world will act as a testimony to the future. Well-writ, Tom. :)

This is so powerful.Made me think and feel.The loudest and clearest voice i have read about nowadays.Bravo.