The Fortunate Village

Aerial photo, Village of Potsdam, NY. May 17, 1946. Photo: New York State Archives Digital Collections

As a young reader I was strongly bitten by poems such as “We Are Those People” by Robinson Jeffers, and novels like “The Man in the High Castle” by Phillip Dick. The darkness and chaos of the last few years brings to mind their cautionary prophesies.

The Fortunate Village

All my long years I dwelt in peace.
The bombs fell ever elsewhere.
No gun pointed at me. My town
knew no heaps of rubble and glass.
Its siren wailed retail not wholesale
disaster — chimney fire or stroke.

Nice to think that war might remain
ever over the horizon: Korea, Vietnam,
Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine —
anywhere but home, this bucolic bubble 
bought by blood and treasure. But
elsewhere exists nowhere, in time.

It’s Newton’s third law of motion;
only luck defers the equal, opposite
reaction to drones, missiles, bombers,
napalm, the Trail of Tears, the slavers’
lash. What rough beast awaits —
or worse, already tracks our scent?

This dark America, bloated into empire,
learns to love its lies, harkens to hate.
Its hoarders heap up wealth, heedless
of the hot stares of the huddled poor,
the vengeful glares of humiliated foes.
They wait only for the wheel to turn.

Note: unpublished draft

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2 Responses to The Fortunate Village

  1. David Duff says:

    Find the good, revel in that and exclaim “Hallelujah!” Find the evil, expose it! Just as loudly!

  2. Robin McClellan says:

    As is often the case, your eloquent words express feelings I experience but have not been able to put words to. Thank you!

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