Watching the Unimaginable

So many have blood on their hands.
Mirrors avoided to save face
hands folded to avoid guilt tremors
heads bowed – horse blinders unavailable.

In another world,
nineteen children don angel wings.
Their days playing on the beach
never to be again.

Together with angels from Sandy Hook
they hover, watch intently, hope . . .
surely this time
change will come.

Written for Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Merril asks us to consider summer and write an ekphrastic poem. She provides a number of paintings that are in some way related to summer. We are to choose one or more to work with. Our poem should be inspired by the painting; not describe the painting. The painting I chose from among those provided is Summer Day, Brighton Beach by Carl Zimmermann.

To clarify the references in my poem:

On December 14, 2012, in Newtown Connecticut, twenty children, ages 6 and 7, were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Attempts to enact stricter gun laws in the United States failed.

On May 24, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas, nineteen children, ages 9, 10 and 11, were murdered at Robb Elementary School.

8 thoughts on “Watching the Unimaginable

  1. merrildsmith June 7, 2022 / 3:07 pm

    I do hope there is another world–another timeline perhaps–where they are playing on a beach.
    It’s hard to believe that things didn’t change after Sandy Hook. . .

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Grace June 7, 2022 / 3:08 pm

    Such tragic news on what could have been a good careful summer for the children. We pray for those children with angel wings. Such a vivid contrast to the portrait vs the harsh reality of our days.


  3. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) June 7, 2022 / 3:29 pm

    It’s amazing what one can see in such a lovely image of all the children who’s life has been cut short by such senseless atrocities… alas it will not stop


  4. sarahsouthwest June 8, 2022 / 4:56 am

    After Dunblane (incidentally, Andy Murray was a survivor) we cracked down on guns (though they were never a massive part of our culture). There were some grumbles at the time (notably from Boris Johnson), but we haven’t had a significant shooting since then. We’re not a country notable for our care of children, but we did that. From the outside it’s really hard to balance the way some American states are making abortion illegal because of the sanctity of life, but continue to glorify a gun culture that leads to tragedies like this. It’s horrifying. All those families, ripped apart. All the children doing active shooter drills – it’s not normal.

    Sorry, rant over. But it’s impossible to get beyond that when you read this poem.


  5. lynn__ June 8, 2022 / 9:11 am

    It’s truly heartbreaking, Lillian, and the whole world is watching in horror. I agree we should have stricter gun laws…and other solutions to violence in our culture as well (improve mental health, recognize sanctity of all human life, help nuclear families stay together, stop promoting gun violence in movies and video games, teach respect and moral values in schools, etc.). God help us!


  6. Raivenne June 8, 2022 / 8:13 pm

    “surely this time
    change will come”

    It’s heartbreaking to think those who survived Sandy Hook likely thought the exact same thing barely a decade ago.


  7. Gillena Cox June 9, 2022 / 11:29 am

    A well crafted ekphrasis. Verse 2 is my favourite.



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