“So, Were You Sleeping?”
So, were you sleeping when the pain sat down;
The mudslides in the Guatemalan hills;
The still uncharted horror in the chill
Of night in Bangladesh where the many towns
And villages pass beyond
The realm of passion and no one now responds
With wizened words or notions while along
The warring Afghan border the shriller mourning songs
Are raised above all heads, and outraged legions rush to save
The thousands who are trapped
In momentary mercy-pockets strewn throughout but newly rationed maps;
Footprints of an ancient waking titan felling caves,
And silent roads, and drawing more, the precious life and blood
That dwarf the recent boring views of yesterday’s New Orleans Flood?
And just how strong can nations be so viciously attacked
By multiple morbidities set in dread against endemic gloom?
There follows yet another, still a second, third, and soon
A daily fourth, to either keep a fragile surplus sacked
Or give support to those for whom there is no peace.
The world stood firm enough in time in Indonesia;
Faltered in the Mississippi outback;
drank denial dulled by strange amnesia
Storied closely by the press and several presidents:
no grace, nor is there ease
For governors. Lo! Someone blinked
and Haïti’s mountains truly roared
In syllables of pain and treatises of all the world’s disdain
While just above the Yellow Sea’s Pacific corridor
Come tired familiar natural spears to Honshu.
Between the Yucatan Peninsula and western shores
Of Cuba, yet another future Grendel this way broods?
No. Much worse, his mother’s greater form of infamy,
And while our Hroðgar’s fast asleep, his people drown in misery.
…talon sculpture by Michele Bruce-Carter…