Poem of the Month

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Names of Newtown

 

“Don’t mourn; organize.”

— Joe Hill

 

Charlotte Bacon, Daniel Barden, Olivia Engel and Josephine Gay –

Names that beat like raindrops on a city cold and gray –

 

Ana Marquez-Greene in pigtails, Dylan Hockley, Madeleine Hsu:

The bitter day you died, I promised: I am now your mother, too.

 

Catherine Hubbard, Chase Kowalski, Jesse Lewis, this I know:

Season after season says it. In the melting of the snow,

 

In the turning leaves of autumn, in the burning grains of sand,

In each morning shaft of sunlight – James Mattioli, take my hand –

 

I am with you, Grace McDonnell; Noah Pozner, here am I;

Jessica Rekos and Avielle Richman, cowgirls riding to the sky;

 

Emilie Parker and oh, Jack Pinto, at last we hear the morning bell

And we must turn our tears to action; there are many truths to tell.

 

Caroline Previdi, six years old: By your sacred name I swear

Not to quit the job we face – a broken country to repair.

 

Benjamin Wheeler, Allison Wyatt, now the task in earnest starts:

May God guide us as we work to fix our nation, mend our hearts.

 

© Genie Abrams, 2013

 

The Lord of Exit 23

As grey and gnarly sticks, your jagged throne,

thrust against the morning mist and tear it,

you pierce the frosty air with gaze unguessed

and trust that we commuter-fools can bear it.

 

We don’t look up: We’re blind and blank below,

as through a thousand sighs, with wizened eyes

and withered souls we fumble for our tolls

and go about the day not well nor wise.

 

We lurch in lurid traffic toward our rackets,

but you don’t mind that slugs can’t hear you sing.

All unadored, you work your wheeling sunward,

there to seek the worthy of your wing.

 

Big bird, brown bird, beam a blessing downward;

sail in silent spiral for your soul’s nobility.

Fly your holy arc above the featherless and feeble

and commute this working-day, and set me free.

 

Your grace, the soar and swoop of you, the might,

the awesome flight, your sacred scope and see

proclaim that you alone will reign forever,

O redtailed Lord of Exit Twenty-Three.