Grace Paley

(11 December 1922 – 22 August 2007 / Bronx, New York)

Reading the Newspapers at the Village Store


this morning
the hills rolled over
in mist the hot
watermaking sun
steamed into
the tight wet elbows of
the valley daily dutiful sun
mocking my pessimism in
this world's year
and one man spoke

cyclones earthquakes landslides floods
what nature doesn't do
to those poor countries in the
places where those people live
and look at this aren't they
always warring on each other
murdering and maiming one
another without mercy?

the other man replied
it was in the morning paper
a couple of months ago
we came upon those very people
and slaughtered them from up high
and maimed them in their hills
and valleys and their dry desert
places caught them morning and
night whether the sun was
blessing or burning the green skin
off their farms outside
we caught them those people
in their dangerous
geographical places

No No the first man cried
above them the sun as usual
stood still the other man
saidAh!then holding tight
to earth's thin coat they fell
toward night the little death
of mild habitual murderers

Submitted: Thursday, April 19, 2012

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