Chera Hammons: The Descent of the Germanwings

Congratulations to MFAW-VT alum Chera Hammons who just had the following poem published at mark National Poetry Month, here is the poem, in its entirety:


Musicians know how to write silence,
how to lay lines and measures across a
       white landscape,
to show where music is and where it
        can’t be,
where notes should swell and where
        they should rest.
 If I were a musician I might write it
        this way:
empty measure after empty measure,
        then the cymbal left ringing out.
Everyone would know what I meant
But poetry doesn’t speak with silence
        the way music can.
It can give you images: the slow drop
        through a tent of cloud.
The way the land stretches forever in
        veins of rock and snow.
It can put spaces in between things to
        spread them out.
The baby’s cry hanging in the air,
        caught as in a photograph
with the same strange stillness as a
        horse caught mid-stride.
The metal glittering sharp as ice
        around the flanks of the Alps.
The fragments of bodies gathered and
        lifted out
of where they fell, as gently held as
        early asters,
or love letters smuggled through a war.
If I were a musician I could write it
        another way, too:
I could unroll the lines of the staff like
        a fence.
The notes would settle all over it like
Then they would sing, if they felt a
        song there.

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