After the massacre at Columbine High School on 20 April 1999 – which should have been our last school shooting – I spent the next two days holed up in my dorm room, watching the 24-hour news channels rather than sleeping or going to classes. At the end of that time, as my body’s need for sleep was finally overcoming the shock, I poured all of my feelings out onto the page.
Even with 30 years of practice, I have never claimed to be more than a mediocre poet. But this particular poem is only a first draft, and also the only freeform poem I am ever likely to write, so it’s especially rough. It’s also the raw, unedited original, exactly as I wrote it nearly two decades ago. The only changes I made were to style the title, and add the copyright and note at the bottom.
Since we just had yet another school shooting, this seems like a good time to share this with the world – as well as the haiku I started after the previous school shooting, and finally finished this evening and posted to Twitter:
Blood of our children
Red rivers flooding our schools
This madness must stop
— CC-BY 2018 fewilcox
(Please forgive the giant image. The limitations of HTML make it impossible to share this poem as anything other than a PDF or image.)