Accompanying Photo

By Jackson Holbert

Perfection, of any kind, is not what we are after,
And the poetry we invented hasn’t been invented yet;
We know human folly like the backs of our hands,
And, because of this, we want to discard armies and fleets;
When we laugh, respectable senators dismiss us with laughter,
And when we cry the little children are already dead in the streets.

             * a response, in admiration, to W.H. Auden’s Epitaph on a Tyrant

(Today’s poem originally appeared in Thrush Poetry Journal and appears here today with permission from the poet.)

Jackson Holbert is a senior at Lakeside High School in Nine Mile Falls, Washington. His work has appeared in Thrush Poetry Journal and A-Minor Magazine.

Editor’s Note: Today’s is a poem that considers, in a few short lines, the quest human beings find themselves on, the struggles of the poet, politics, and violence. An honest poem that does not try to be more than it is, and yet speaks to all that comes before it and the realities we are faced with. The last line functions much in the same way as a sonnet’s volta, and I find myself reminded of a line from a Pablo Neruda poem: “and the blood of children ran through the streets / without fuss, like children’s blood.”

About Sivan Butler-Rotholz

Sivan is the Managing Editor of the Saturday Poetry Series on As It Ought To Be and holds an MFA from Brooklyn College. She is a professor, writer, editor, comic artist, and attorney emerita. She is also the founder of Reviving Herstory. Sivan welcomes feedback, poetry submissions, and solicitations of her writing via email at sivan.sf [at] gmail [dot] com.
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  1. hecubus says:

    That is amazing. I can’t help but read it again and again. Impressive for someone so young to see the world this way, with so much depth. A true poet!

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