Photo of the Day Poems: This Sad Time #Poem #Poetry #Death #Disaster #Discontent #Hope

All the images above come from The Guardian’s best photographs of the day posted on February 5, 2019, capturing moments of death, disaster, discontent, and division from England, Bangladesh, Canada, Paris, and the United States. Four years later, these atrocities continue to manifest all around the world, and those without a firm foundation and steady faith have little hope. I remember pondering these photographs four years ago and nearly being overwhelmed with despair. It’s why I end the poem with Edgar’s powerful words from Shakespeare’s King Lear. Despite the tragic state of the kingdom and the prevailing sense of hopeless that leads Albany to abdicate the throne and sends Kent offstage suicidal, Edgar offers us hope and encourages us “to move forward with honesty, openness and no deception” (AllGreatQuotes see link below).

“He ushers in a new era of transparency for when he becomes king, suggesting that we stop saying what we ought to say, and express what we feel. It is an appeal for people to act with integrity and be genuine, rather than hide behind the cloaks of artifice or procedures.”

AllGreatQuotes, King Lear

Even before I end the poem there, I hint at hope through allusions to Dickinson’s “Hope” is the thing with feathers and Thomas Hardy’s The Darkling Thrush.

I have not stayed in a place of hopelessness. The other morning, just days before Spring officially arrived, I heard my arbor vitae alive with birdsong. I have smelled Spring in the air during the waning days of Winter. And I too look forward to a stone rolled away and an empty tomb.


by Vincent H. Anastasi 2019

Sometimes I feel
I have to make bricks without straw,
mucking about in the mire
of death, disaster, and discontent:

	the smoldering homes
	the crowded refugee camps
	the mangled wreckage of derailed train
	the search for missing persons
	the stoic stare of riot police

	the state of disunion.

Poems need not turn a blind eye
nor perpetuate fantasies
but should offer some hope,
some thing with feathers
or at least the guarded optimism
of a darkling thrush --

though my eyes have seen too much
and I feel the weight of this sad time.

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