Little Girls, Little Boys (Newtown 9:30 AM)

January 1, 2013

A time for children you can’t quite hear,
the source of eyes that starts to speak, then begs,
as if they want to curl their tongue around your legs
and cry. Think snakes become an ordinary fear.
Think of a prism fired from a gun,
an impact inside a mirror no one can see,
the gods of glass, of glass majestic, cutting free
the rainbow from their skin, a shard’s fun.

And if you can’t repeat the drill—how to lock
the door, to pull the curtains tight, how to close
your eyes and make it depend on sight.
How to tell your ears to fill the noise
with something empty: empty bottles, say, empty toys.
How to die and not be dead, my little girls, my little boys…

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4 Responses to “Little Girls, Little Boys (Newtown 9:30 AM)”

  1. Anna Mark Says:

    Perhaps not public poetry, but house it somewhere else.

  2. extrasimile Says:

    Yes, I obviously took a risk here. I’m glad that, at least in your sympathetic eyes, I didn’t cross the line. John, your analysis of my use of the sonnet form—especially as it has been evolving—corresponds almost exactly with my thinking. I wonder: are there some subjects simply not suitable for poetry?

  3. Anna Mark Says:

    Very, very moving.

  4. John Stevens Says:

    A painfully difficult topic to cover, Jim, but you have approached this with the care and the sensitive – though strong – emotion that it requires. There are some deeply touching phrases in these lines as well as some that cut to the quick. I’m slightly unsure about line 3; but line 1 demands our attention and makes us read on, the last line is very affecting, and so is the title itself. Taken as a whole the poem is a powerfully felt memorial.
    You often use the sonnet form, usually with loose line lengths and without rhyme, but observing the overall shape and purpose. I notice that you’ve chosen strong end-rhymes (except for three lines where there are cross-rhymes and half-rhymes) and I think this works well: the extra formality adds to the gravity of the subject.
    I also think you did well not to rush this one.


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