From Dust

Too many smiles.
Too many smiles in a time of sadness.
What are they thinking?
Don’t they see what’s
happening all around them?
Aren’t they aware of
the ugliness on
every street corner?
I don’t understand
how they can ignore
the unraveling of
Yet they just go on smiling.
Singing as they brush the dust
from their shoulders,
they pick up bricks from
the bomb-shattered wall,
and stack them in neat piles.
They must be blind
to the hopelessness
buried in the rubble.
They must be deaf to
the cries of pain.
They must be crazy.
Only the insane would
smile when all hope is
lost. Only the insane
would sing in the
face of death.
I watch them smile,
day after day,
wondering what will become
of them when all the rubble
is cleared, neatly stacked.
I watch as new walls emerge
from their salvaged brick,
new homes arise from the dust.
I, too, have been made crazy
in this time
of sadness,
this time of
this time of
I smile as I
dust off a
brick from
a newly

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
This entry was posted in Poetry. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to From Dust

  1. Holly Forrest says:

    Those smiles can be absolutely haunting. When I was teaching second grade many years ago, I was talking to one of my young students, who told me that her mother and siblings had been killed in a car wreck. She had the most ghastly smile on her face. Sometimes I think there is a level of pain that is so great that it triggers a bizarre counter response.

I wish you would tell me what you think about this post...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.