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36th Virtual Poetry Circle

Wow have I been busy with the Split This Rock Poetry Festival in Washington, D.C.  I’m going to the festival a little bit later this morning, just so I can get up this week’s Virtual Poetry Circle.

And since, I’ve been immersed in contemporary poets and poems of witness, I thought I would share with you a poet from the festival for the 36th Virtual Poetry Circle.

Remember, this is just for fun and is not meant to be stressful.

Keep in mind what Molly Peacock’s books suggested. Look at a line, a stanza, sentences, and images; describe what you like or don’t like; and offer an opinion. If you missed my review of her book, check it out here.

Today’s contemporary poem is from Sinan Antoon‘s The Baghdad Blues:

A Photograph (Of an Iraqi boy on the front page of the New York Times) (Page 41)

he sat
at the edge of the truck
(eight or nine years old?)
surrounded by his family:
his father,
mother,
and five siblings
were asleep
his head was buried
in his hands
all the clouds of the world
were waiting
on the threshold of his eyes
the tall man wiped off the sweat
and started digging
the seventh grave.

Let me know your thoughts, ideas, feelings, impressions. Let’s have a great discussion…pick a line, pick an image, pick a sentence.

I’ve you missed the other Virtual Poetry Circles, check them out here. It’s never too late to join the discussion.

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© 2010, Serena Agusto-Cox of Savvy Verse & Wit. All Rights Reserved. If you’re reading this on a site other than Savvy Verse & Wit or Serena’s Feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

  • Serena

    What strikes me about this poem is the heaviness.

    And I think that asleep means dead.

    In this case given that the boy has 5 siblings, a mother and father, and the tall man (maybe US soldier or relative) is digging the 7 graves to bury the boy's family.

    For me the most poignant part of the poem is in these lines:

    "his head was buried
    in his hands
    all the clouds of the world
    were waiting
    on the threshold of his eyes"

  • Jeanne

    Who is the tall man? Are the parents and siblings "asleep" as in "put to sleep" or is the tall man going to kill them and then bury them? I have trouble with the brevity of this poem; I'd have liked a more complete picture of the photo!

  • Anna

    There's a heaviness in this poem that I noticed from the first line. I think it could have been longer though, given us a more complete picture.

    –Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

  • Lu @ Regular Rumination

    I really like the last part that begins "in his hands/all the clouds of the world/were waiting" and the poem definitely ends with a punch. I'm not sure about the beginning. It could have done more. It just feels like a vehicle for the rest of the poem. Or maybe my biggest problem is the title. It says too much. If it weren't there, then the rest of the poem would be more of a shock.