Monday, December 11, 2006

It Could Happen

It could happen anytime, tornado,
earthquake, Armageddon. It could happen.
...
It could you know. That's why we wake
and look out-- no guarantees
in this life.
- William Stafford

It could happen
that you return from work
on a sunny, winter day
expecting to take
your children to the park
but instead your son,
only three years old,
is dead.

It could happen
that a car hits
your baby boy in his stroller
drags him down the street
knocks your mother over
and speeds away.

This morning could be your
last good-bye. Your last
I love you.

It could happen
in a moment or tomorrow
or fifty years from now.

Nothing is promised.

We ease back into this
treacherous world
and grab what we love
with white knuckles.

It is not forever.

This filmy life
slides right through our fingers
we hope for the chance
to say
thank you.

________________________________________

This story has been weighing on my heart the past week and a half as it happened to one of my colleagues. The poem is probably too dramatic and sentimental, but how do you write about the death of a healthy three year old run over by a car? The injustice of it stings and I can only wonder at this world we live in. But Stafford's line kept popping into my head, "...no guarantees/ in this life." No guarantees. I can only hope to live more appreciatively of the blessings in my own life while I think and pray for this family who has been struck by the worst.

13 Comments:

Blogger Deezee said...

I think the poem is both beautiful and heartbreaking. The incident that prompted it is devasting. So sad.

8:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes there are no words. At you are right, there are no guarantees. I'm so sorry...

11:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Emily,
This poem is neither too dramatic nor sentimental. It is written from the heart. You convey the heartbreak along with the unknowing of every single day. Let us all make sure we try to live each day as if it were our first and our last! I love you and thank you for such a beautiful poem.
iocm

8:53 PM  
Blogger twitches said...

Life IS random, and uncertain, and cruel, and unfair. We're here, I guess, to try and wring some sort of meaning out of it. My sympathies to your colleague - how terrible for her.

10:14 PM  
Blogger snowsparkle said...

emily, i agree with anonymous. when stuff like this happens, the earth opens up and asks our hearts to do the same. it's wrong not to meet this kind of loss without some kind of passionate reflex. you've done well eulogizing this family's tragedy. my heart goes out to all of you left in its wake.

3:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

such sorrow. this does sting....
prayers for the family.

8:25 AM  
Blogger dweezila said...

your poem gives me chills, not just because it really happened but because it doesn't seem a matter of "IF" it will happen, but "WHEN" it will happen. Not the car literally dragging your child away, but all of it, the way all of it will slip away. There's much more room for thank you and i love you in our lives.

11:51 AM  
Blogger dweezila said...

your poem gives me chills, not just because it really happened but because it doesn't seem a matter of "IF" it will happen, but "WHEN" it will happen. Not the car literally dragging your child away, but all of it, the way all of it will slip away. There's much more room for thank you and i love you in our lives.

11:51 AM  
Anonymous jen said...

oh....wow.

i am so sorry. it is so horrifying, and terrifying...and you are right...we just never know...

oh...honey. i am so sorry.

11:26 PM  
Anonymous my backyard said...

Sorry to hear that your poem was inspired by true life events. This poem gave me the chills, just as someone else said above.

6:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's so tragic. Sometimes life is very tough. I'm sorry these things happen, I wish they didn't.

4:20 PM  
Anonymous susanna said...

Oh no. I'm at a loss for words.

11:46 PM  
Anonymous gel said...

"grab what we love with white knuckles"
powerful and poignant even if you hadn't added the heart-wrenching clincher.

1:09 PM  

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