Today, 14 December 2016, marks one of the most devastating days I’ve ever personally experienced within the range of “modern” American history. As I prepare to go volunteer in my child’s first-grade class today, I will be extra-mindful of the six dedicated teachers/staff and the 20 bright and promising children who were murdered at Sandy Hook in December 2012. And I will be doubly thankful for the educators and staff who still are preparing our children for meaningful lives. If you can, on this day or any other, please consider volunteering for or donating to these organizations:
Sandy Hook Promise (http://www.sandyhookpromise.org/)
Americans Against Gun Violence (http://aagunv.org/)
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (http://csgv.org/)
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (http://www.bradycampaign.org/)
or another anti-gun violence organization of your choice
I will not forget, and I hope you don’t either, so that we may improve as a nation and as human beings. Following is my humble offering to commemorate those 26 souls (the poem itself is a January 2014 reblog).
“All Our Horrific Realities: A Dirge”
Leigh Ward-Smith, ©2014
“The family drew cupcakes . . . on her tiny white casket.”
Setting: Here, now.
All our horrific realities
are all horrifically ours.
Sublime in the glint of the scythe,
six-and-twenty sorrows stream into our consciousness.
Salt upon the pane.
I rage against the sloping reality
of the dying twenty-six lights.
Soon enough, the grief heaps up, pushing up mountains in the mind:
Belted welts upon the already bruised back of the world.
Somewhere, suffused cirrus,
pregnant with hopes flung out
and the iciest of cyclic horrors.
And now, cracked-lip murmurings yet shunt, quick to the chest,
our hell-shocked fare-thee-wells.
I write so I can live
with the reality of our human race, this place:
We are damned, dirty apes–with angers dangerously ablaze.
Can saved Graces now retrieve the six-and-twenty,
plucked pennies from air-strings…
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