Vox Populi

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Richard Hoffman: The Road

 Mothers with newborns in knotted slings,
on their heads impossible towers of things,

	the old in carts, the children by the hand,
	these people crossing a cratered land

		are more than metaphor;
	  		but they are also metaphor.

We are the truth to one another. Look:
don’t wait for some historian’s book

	to understand this (then it will be too late.)
      	This is the unchecked power of the State,

		the end of empathy, the rise of Mars,
	  		the avarice that in the end mars

all our laws and medicine and art.
Show me one fleeing person’s heart

	and I will show you a thousand griefs
   	for loves, hopes, memories, beliefs

		that war has undermined.
	   		Corpses plowed under, mined

roads and fields, the groves and orchards
poisoned, fathers and brothers tortured,

	hope abandoned with the other heavy furniture —
	it isn't much of a road, the future,

		if you don’t know where
			it goes or it goes nowhere.

From Noon until Night, Barrow Street Press, 2017

Richard Hoffman‘s four books of poetry are Without Paradise; Gold Star Road; Emblem; and Noon until Night. His other books include the memoirs Half the House and Love & Fury, and the story collection Interference and Other Stories.

Refugees from many different countries – from Africa, Middle East and India – mostly students of Ukrainian universities are seen at the Medyka pedestrian border crossing fleeing the conflict in Ukraine, in eastern Poland on February 27, 2022. (Photo by Wojtek RADWANSKI / AFP)

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This entry was posted on March 31, 2022 by in Poetry, Social Justice, War and Peace and tagged , , , , , , , , .

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