Journalism In Verse


The Compass of Compassion

in Politics by

As we are descendants of our common miracle
As compass and compassion share a common root
As whales in record numbers beach themselves
As children are tear-gassed on the border
As forests in record numbers fuel the planet’s
Heat wave with their immolation: that world
The only one we actually know we can live upon.

As Black Friday fills our rooms and garbage dumps
As some rake in cash while others rake the ash for bones
As fake red Christmas trees haunt children’s dreams
As thousands lose jobs in Ohio, Maryland, Michigan, Ontario
As the insect population — our pollinators — are eradicated
As one man confesses to killing 90 people, all women
The details of one killer’s confessions on the evening news
And every headline a knife’s thrust in the optimist’s heart.

As the needle on the compass spins and spins again
As they sell your comment on your granddaughter’s post
As the last northern white rhino and the endangered polar bears
As the ones who gave us 9/11 fuel a war in Yemen
As the decorations fill the windows in Bloomingdale’s and Barney’s
As the compass was first invented as an instrument for divination
As it was only later used as a tool to find one’s bearings
Is it not time to ask where are we going, where have we been
Will we find our way again, our absolute bearing our compassion?



You are in Melania’s nightmare forest. Keep to the path. [The Washington Post]

Yvonne Daley is a career journalist who returned to poetry for sanity in these dark times. She lives in Vermont, still a sane place.

Photo from the White House Flickr stream.

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