” First they came for the Socialists … I did not speak out …
and there was no one left to speak for me.” — Martin Niemoller
It always closes in on you the same way.
When it was about being
kidnapped (back) into slavery.
Or when peoples have been, are
plagued by epidemic genocides;
color-coded, race-and-gender or
faith-based oppressions such as
still raging pandemic patriarchies;
and when falsely accused, unjustly
arrested, convicted, wrongfully
sentenced just for being “other than”,
having already been imprisoned
in poverty, or for slipping, falling
into the hole of addiction, homelessness;
or otherwise scourged
as we all are presently by this
fast-spreading genderless, raceless,
classless, religionless, seemingly
apocalyptic COVID-19 pathogen’s
impendiing indiscriminate world-wide
wipe out of so many:
… Many Thousands Gone …
First it happens to a friend’s friends’ friends.
Then it’s a few of your friend’s friends.
After that it’s an acquaintance.
Then a friend. Eventually, friends,
a family member or two.
Finally, in mind during daytime, in nightmare
during bits of fitful sleep you wonder if what has happened and is happening
will happen …
Everett Hoagland was the first Poet Laureate of New Bedford. He is a recent recipient of the annual, national Langston Hughes Society Award. His poetry has been regularly published in periodicals and anthologies for over half a century. One of his recent books is Ocean Voices, published by Spinner Publications.