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Friday, August 29, 2014


by Paul Dickey

Syrian refugee children in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. Photograph: Sam Tarling (The Guardian, May 9, 2014)

I would not say
the earth was afraid,
although it shook terribly
at each of my steps
in the moonlight.
It was only protecting
the children, it seemed,
who had poured
themselves out,
like soft drops of rain
over the hills and valleys.
But I carried on.
I had a business of fire
in the city and in the night
that the earth knew
nothing of, work
that could not be ceased
even had I wanted.
In my own way,
I too worry for the children.
How will they become
as hard now as diamonds?

Paul Dickey’s first full-length poetry book They Say This is How Death Came Into the World was published by Mayapple Press in January 2011 and was nominated by the press for the 2011 National Book Award in Poetry.  His second book Wires Over the Homeplace was published in the Fall of 2013 by Pinyon Publishing.  Dickey’s poetry has appeared in Verse Daily, Rattle, Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics, Mid-American Review, Midwest Quarterly, Pleaides, Bellevue Literary Review,  Crab Orchard Review and online at