June 9, 2021


Useless ... Unless ...

or Regretful After the Fact


mankind does reprehensible things

amidst all our wonderful works

hide far too many unspeakably evil

uncovered and brought to light

too late for the aid of any victim


yet our memorials are enacted

our communal sympathies voiced

again, and again, and again


too late …


of what worth our after the fact voices

if our words are not a call to action


of what worth our after the fact weeping

if our tears do not wash away this evil


of what worth our after the fact anger

if our hands continue to stand idle


useless …


we cannot bring back those who've fallen

our remembrances of them do nothing

more than soothe our stricken consciences


unless …


unless our words are not mere discordance

unless our tears are not mere token rivers

unless our wrath is not mere futile venting


unless we have done more than weep

we have but painted whitewashed tombs

on the foundations of ancestral failures


Useless ... Unless ...
A poem by Peter Rhebergen

Copyright 2021

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