Only the fear and tears

I didn’t sleep well last night.
Already disheartened, I spent the usual
eight hours in front of the computer.
Then shopping, microwave dinner,
an essay from The Portable Atheist,
and a poem from The City of Dreadful Night.
Meanwhile, I was reminded of the novels
by nineteenth-century Russian writers
that I devoured in my youth. All this kept me
from staring at the newsfeed incessantly.
You see, I don’t know what I am doing.
Not helping, that’s for sure. At best, I calm
my conscience. Because who needs stanzas
when ammunition is low? What can puns
be good for when tanks are approaching?
How much effective protection can all these
sophisticated poetic devices provide
against the constant shelling of skyscrapers
thousands of miles away? Yet I still remember
the words of the poet I learned when I was seven:
“I sound the alarm for the city of Warsaw.”
Another era, another city, another aggressor;
the only constants are the fear and tears
of the innocent.

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