In a tranquil garden warmed by the scent of summer flowers and grass, Juan Filipe Herrera, poet laureate of the United States (2015-2016), spoke to a group of aspiring writers demanding to know how poetry can possibly help such a troubled world. He told us to begin to record our responses to the troubling events, to let words begin, however haltingly, to sense their way into such turmoil.
In Florida last week for a pre-scheduled event at the College of Central Florida, he shared his own such heartfelt response:
Seventeen, who were joyous,
Who had questions.
Life was new.
It seemed like it was just beginning.
Seventeen, we’re ready.
And we’re dreaming.
And we’re studying.
Seventeen, about to build
A new society.
Seventeen, gone, now.
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