Tragedy in the News

When the earth heaves and crushes
tens of thousands in seconds, when a wave
drinks an island dry of babies, or fire
sweeps a town into dust, we turn
and breathe “My God, what is this
world? Where are Your mercies now?
Turn our heavy burden to endless loaves!”
But tomorrow will this be the weight
pushing our eyes to the pavement instead
of meeting our hungry brother in passing?
Will the chill of an unresponsive Father
force us to roll our windows up against
sobbing in the crossroad breeze
while the light refuses to just turn green?
Will it be His wind wearing at coatless
arms, spreading dust into the sky, all
that’s left of some of us day after day
after day? Or is the Earth looking up
at us grinding bodies, commuting
right over top, sobbing to morning radio,
hoping our tears are salve? Does it see us
and gasp itself nearly lifeless?

About the Poem

It has been a long string of tragedies, made worse by the ever-increasing ravages of capitalism. The past few years have made folks feel like circumstances have put that tragedy right in our laps in a way most aren’t used to. As I listen to people responding to the horrific death tolls and destruction in Turkey and Syria, I can almost hear the relief that some can get back to the business of crying about the tragedy that is abstract and far away.

About the Author

Ryan McCarty is a teacher, writing and living in Ypsilanti, MI USA.

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