After Reading Levertov’s Poem on the 1972 Christmas Bombing

For Suzanne Renard & Andrew Wimmer


Haven’t you had such a fantasy
Sure, a different decade
A different civilization being destroyed
Different men
The same crimes
Getting away with mass murder

Mind movies of righteous payback
(But like the Vietnamese woman said:
“The Americans cannot repay this debt
Because it’s too big”)
And after the phantasm runs its course
The stern daily discipline remains:

Channeling rage into the work of
Memory, resistance, and eutopia

Martha Hess, Then the Americans Came: Voices from Vietnam
Denise Levertov, A Poem at Christmas, 1972, during the Terror-Bombing of North Vietnam (Poems 1972-1982)

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