On Newtown: Poet Yusef Komunyakaa

Last year, after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., NPR reached out to Pulitzer Prize winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa, who himself knows the grief of losing a child. The result was a poem, "Rock Me Mercy."

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ARUN RATH, HOST:

Last year, after the tragedy at Sandy Hook, we reached out to Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa, who himself knows the grief of losing a child. He sent us this poem titled "Rock Me Mercy."

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

RATH: The poet Yusef Komunyakaa reading "Rock Me Mercy," which he wrote just after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School one year ago today.

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