Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Counting those who grieve . . .

Each day's email brings me a Poem-a-Day from Poets.org and today's selection by Matthew Olzmann considers the tragedies from gun-violence in our news too often these days. Numbers are "objective" -- and count those who watch and grieve as well as the guns and shooters -- or are they?  Here is an excerpt from Olzmann's poem, "Letter Beginning with Two Lines by Czesław Miłosz":

          . . .   Did I say
          I had “one” student who

          opened a door and died?
          That’s wrong.

          There were many.
          The classroom of grief  

          had far more seats
          than the classroom for math

          though every student
          in the classroom for math

          could count the names
          of the dead.
          . . .

The pair of lines from Polish poet Czesław Miłosz (1911-2004) with which Olzmann's poem opens are:

          You whom I could not save,
          Listen to me. 

The entire poem, along with comments from the poet, is available here.   Take time to read it.

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