Several years ago I wrote the following — and this morning, in pre-dawn darkness I looked out the window to the street in front of our home and the red light from the traffic signal brought back this poem. To ameliorate my grief, all our grief, I share it again, for the children, all the children, from Kosovo to Baghdad, Viet Nam to Hiroshima, Columbine to Connecticut. “Do not ask for whom the bell tolls, the bells tolls for . . .” Rev. John Donne.
At 6 a.m. This Snowy Daylight Dawning
The newspaper photo shows a sled on red snow
in Kosovo, with the caption,
“Shelling kills six children playing in the snow”
When all this world
is white with ice and snow
cold floorboards chill my feet,
the air bites icy cold,
my shoulders hunch up for heat.
I see this life as pure and clean,
the land virgin white, the air Madonna blue,
this moment bright and fairy.
But outside my window
the street light turns from green
and now I see upon the snow
From man’s own making
red light upon the snow.
Red light tinged with pink.
Red light as gurgling in the lungs.
So where are all our darling children
This day of snow and light?
I fear they lay as bright, as bright
Upon the snow, as this red light.