Two Poems

One I’ve known for years, one I just discovered today (through listening to an episode of the podcast “Atomic Hobo” – “How To Survive An Atomic Bomb”). And I was struck by how both expressed the same sentiment, with different words, different moods, different times, but so similar in meaning. Today’s discovery was by Sara Teasdale, titled “There Will Come Soft Rains” and written in 1918 …

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white,

Robins will wear their feathery fire
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

The second poem is by Kendrew Lascelles and seems to have been written in 1971. It’s titled “When All The Laughter Dies In Sorrow”:

When all the laughter dies in sorrow
And the tears have risen to a flood
When all the wars have found a cause
In human wisdom and in blood
Do you think they’ll cry in sadness
Do you think the eye will blink
Do you think they’ll curse the madness
Do you even think they’ll think

When all the great galactic systems
Sigh to a frozen halt in space
Do you think there will be some remnant
Of beauty of the human race
Do you think there will be a vestige
Or a sniffle or a cosmic tear
Do you think a greater thinking thing
Will give a damn that man was here

The world of 1971 was very different from that of 1918, and both are different from today, but each had/has its horrifying aspects. I wonder what poems written now will cause someone in the future to look back at these?

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