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Thursday, June 25, 2015


by Robert Farmer

“Nearly 60 million people have been driven from their homes by war and persecution, an unprecedented global exodus that has burdened fragile countries with waves of newcomers and littered deserts and seas with the bodies of those who died trying to reach safety.” —New York Times, June 18, 2015

Their fleeing

is from these times
mired in apocalyptic struggle
spread through and by power
coated with ancient enmities and beliefs
brought up to slaughter and stagnation.

Safely sequestered, we trace the ways to today,
tracking back through old empires
and all manner of community
to rest in those imaginary ages
ruled by honored sages who left us

with stories of Tang poet-governors gathered
round wine and evening composition,
calm in the certainty of their world
and accepted sureness
of suffering and death.

Yet even they flaunted rants
on injustice of their times,
satire buried in language
which led them to exile
in far provinces.

Robert Farmer is a retired forester who lives in Cleveland and occasionally publishes poems in small journals.