Sunday, December 07, 2008

Waiting for January 21

I found this poem leafing through a book today, and it seemed like an appropriate poem for our current age of anxiety. I don't know what keeps you up at night, but if you are anything like me, it's probably quite a list. This poem is called "Listen" by Charles Simic. It captures the feeling I have about life right now.

Everything about you,
my life, is both
make-believe and real.
We are like a couple
working the night shift
in a bomb factory.

Come quietly, one says
to the other
as he takes her by the hand
and leads her
to a rooftop
overlooking the city.

At this hour, if one listens
long and hard,
one can hear a fire engine
in the distance,
but not the cries for help,

just the silence
growing deeper
at the sight of a small child
leaping out of a window
with its nightclothes on fire.

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