what of those?


eve was icy cold,
thin rain drizzled unwelcome
murk on revelers

few took note that fog
draped its mighty grey mantle
o’er woman, man, child

thousands gape, faces
upturned, eyes capturing each
explosion of light.

time marches ever
onward, unimpeded by
mere mortal malaise.

burgeoning masses
pushing, jostling, heeding not
others’ perspective

shouting in thoughtless
abandon – it is New Year!
nothing else matters!

what of those cow’ring
in overfilled space – those who
have found no safe place?

those grudgingly lent
makeshift housing in structures

for most animals,
yet, we still regard ourselves
as magnanimous.

what of those, who, filled
with terror, remember sounds
and sights of rockets,

bombs, flares, eerily
comparable to fountain,
confetti cannon,

piercing night sky with
haunting whistle, smoke, flash –
evoking flashbacks –

who thinks of them? gaunt
eyes betraying grief stricken
agony, hopeless

loss. who thinks of them,
on this night of self-induced
war imitation?

slowly a figure
disengages from the mass
of humanity,

no one notices
but her thoughts of peace and hope
extend to those left

in their personal
hovels of darkness, wond’ring
if another war

has come upon them
in this wondrous yet fearful,
supposed new haven.

you and yours matter –
what you perceive of this odd
dominant culture

is critically
significant, as are you.
never forget that

on this night of self
absorption, celebration,
raucous party noise

there are those who live
alongside, sense the anguish,
aware, unable

to grasp the immense
burden borne with dignity
in this new land – home.

welcome and happy
new year to you, too, having
shunned the spectacle,

visible still in
debris strewn streets, walkways – scant
skeletal remains.

Happy New Year.

© Julia Penner-Zook, 2016
photo credits: Glenn Daniels; heraldsun.com.au (fireworks in Australia)
Alexander Kots/AP; npr.org (war in Syria)


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