'Rock Me, Mercy': A Poem Written In Mourning

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The heartbreaking loss of lives in Newtown, Conn., moved the Louisiana-born poet Yusef Komunyakaa to put his emotions into words. The global distinguished professor of English at New York University knows too well how it feels to lose a child and poetry's power to calm and heal.


We leave you tonight with a poem by Yusef Komunyakaa. He wrote it last night after hearing about the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary. And we asked him to read it for us tonight. It's called "Rock Me, Mercy."


YUSEF KOMUNYAKAA: (Reading) The river stones are listening because we have something to say. The trees lean closer today. The singing in the electrical woods has gone down. It looks like rain, because it is too warm to snow. Guardian angels, wherever you're hiding, we know you can't be everywhere at once. Have you corralled all the pretty wild horses? The memory of ants asleep and day lilies, roses, holly and larkspur? The magpies gaze at us, still waiting. River stones are listening. But all we can say now is mercy, please rock me.


RAZ: The poet Yusef Komunyakaa reading his poem "Rock Me, Mercy."


RAZ: And for Saturday, that's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz. A quick recap of what we know about the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. We now know the alleged gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, forced his way into that school. We also know that all of the children killed on Friday were between the ages of six and seven - all first-graders.

NPR continues to report this story throughout the evening on our website, npr.org. Please join us on the radio again tomorrow night. Until then, thanks for listening, and please keep the families of Newtown in your thoughts.

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