"Poetry is thoughts that breathe, and words that burn." ~Thomas Gray

"Poetry unites." ~Anon

"Truth is such a rare thing, it is delightful to tell it." ~Emily Dickinson


Written by Ben Howard
He lives in Alfred, New York, USA
His website: One Time, One Meeting

(Originally published by Cortland Review, No. 6, February 1999)

Old News

Those little increments
of grief: how silently

they travel in the blood
of mourners, bearing news

that makes no headlines, wears
no byline, yet remains

for years, for generations,
persisting as it must

in vein and artery,
lung and bone. And when

its broadcast comes, its blast
is loosed into the heart,

how sudden it appears
and how remote, as though

its presence there were foreign,
its virulence unknown.

Posted with consent from the writer.

4 Comments:

  1. Karen said...
    The grief pumping in the blood as a virulent presence is a powerful image. I find this image especially compelling now as we read and hear "headlines" about a possible pandemic; the comparison to these "...little imcrements
    of grief..." is obvious. Both silent killers. Nicely done.
    Leslie Avon Miller said...
    This is profoundly moving. I think of family traits, ways of being, sense of loss passed on….
    WHY? said...
    This is how it happens. The most painful memories that suddenly awakens. That shake us to the foundation, and we are never the same person again.
    K.Lawson Gilbert said...
    This is so impressive. It describes our human tragedies so succinctly. Each mourner must carry the grief like a mini plague, as it devours us from within.....poignant, poignant.

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