Poem of the Week: For All This

Sunrise

For All This

 for the victims and survivors of the Oklahoma tornadoes, May 20 and 21, 2013

It’s a matter of degree and distance and accretion, after all—
The objects, possessions, acquisitions, events, memories and conversations gathering
Under a roof, adding on to themselves, second to second, year to year.
In the kitchen, pots and pans, glassware, silverware, plates, cups, appliances.
For the rest, furniture for the living room, dining room, family living area, bedroom:
Sofa, chair, desk, bed, table, bureau, chest,
The accumulations of a household, the toys, the clothes, the food, the tools
And the family itself, again a matter of degree and accretion
Two people—a start—then the little one added and another perhaps
They grow and go to school and they grow.
And there are breezes, a matter of degree and accretion again,
They become winds and air masses which collide
Warm and cold, and the winds start a slow rotation
They turn and turn and turn
And coil on themselves. Mere wind becomes
A miles wide obscene ram of air a coiling snake
Crushing exploding bursting apart
All these accretions
All these possessions
The objects
The persons
The children huddled in their school
Leaving
A tattered unimaginable horrid landscape
Of grief and loss.
It’s a matter, after all, of degree and accretion
Of which we are suddenly
And brutally
Bereft.

–Dan Verner

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