My California friend Jeanne Watson has penned many fine, eloquent poems over the forty years I have known her. But none touched me as this one did, capturing as it does the anguished despair of most Americans at the excessive power of the NRA-led gun lobby there who distort the 200-year old Second Amendment to the Constitution to justify the proliferation of assault rifles. The result is an apparently endless series of abuse of such weapons on people as innocent as children.
THE FELLED AND THE FALLING
In my dreams children are running,
rivers of children slipping by boulders,
falling into canyons, not like lemmings
for their strange survival, they are
running from death. From a wall of
death, from holes in walls fixed
with neat circles holding guns of every
type. They are running from
their parents’ souls that their parents
might forget. Because they are children
they imagine this as a possibility.
Where did we leave the notion
of defending one’s country, to
adopt aggression towards our offspring?
Genocide is an ugly word.
But it is our word now.
We have turned on our own
laying open each shooter’s wound of emptiness.
To have power over life is the force
that keeps them alive, children in
heaps at their feet.
in a young man is beyond what it
takes to bring him down––naked
hatred. At least let us speak the truth.
Who, really is the perpetrator?
When did our children become objects
for venting our insanities, our rage?
If Sandy Hook could not stop us, as
did Lot’s wife becoming salt, if that crack
in the earth could not have ended
the NRA’s holding aloft the fate of our
children, what might we hope for?