Richard Pierce

Richard Pierce – author, poet, painter

Life, Poetry, Politics

Day 97


Counting spiders instead of bombs
In unknown cellars distracts
Children from death, like toys
Distract from nightmares. What
If eyes don’t close until bombs
Outnumber the spiders and
The cellars collapse while the
West watches and keeps paying
For bloodied oil and coal?

Fossils are skeletons hidden in
Collapsed cellars and dungeons, fuels
Formed from the remains of living
Organisms that are now still
Sentient, have bad dreams and fears,
Love and laughter, melancholy,
Try to escape from underground to
The open air and sun and peace,
Only to die in the soil.

History is cannibalism by the
Wealthy we are, feeding on deaths
Of millions far way, their last
Breath carried through pipelines
From massacre to western hearths.
We warm ourselves on the souls
Of a genocide a short flight away
Where spiders feed on the shadows
Of distracted children.




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  1. Ren Powell

    8th April 2022 at 05:56

    I wrote a response to a Facebook post – an American woman asking why the EU (?!) doesn’t step in. She said that Russia “only” had short-range missiles. I didn’t tackle those ideas but did say that there is a very real danger of poking the monster when you actually live with back-to-back with the monster. When even short-range missiles are a real threat. When poking it means a very real danger of your own countries kindergarten’s being bombed. It’s not a theoretical question, not an ideological question. It is (literally) your children on the line. It is literally my child stationed on the literal line between Russia and Norway. She deleted my response. But that’s all right: what Americans are willing to risk doesn’t interest me. You’ve written a beautiful poem that deepens the painful ambivalence I feel about all of this. I thank you for that. It is unpleasant, but it is honest.

    1. Richard Pierce

      8th April 2022 at 06:11

      Thank you. And you’re right about the situation. It is frightening here, and must be even more frightening for you in Norway, and for you personally as a mother. The issue of American parochialism is something that’s troubled me ever since I became conscious of it in my late teens, and continues to disturb me, but I understand why it is. Not that this makes it any better. And it certainly doesn’t help right now. Because the other side of that coin is that it can lead to being over-aggressive. I want the war to stop. Rx

      1. Ren Powell

        8th April 2022 at 15:36

        I didn’t think I was really an optimist until I caught myself REALLY believing this would have been over by now.

        1. Richard Pierce

          9th April 2022 at 08:11


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