Ghazal !يا لطيف (Ya Lateef!)
A lot more malaise and a little more grief every day,
aware that all seasons, the stormy, the sunlit, are brief every day.
I don’t know the name of the hundredth drowned child, just the names
of the oligarchs trampling the green, eating beef every day,
while luminous creatures flick, stymied, above and around
the plastic detritus that’s piling up over the reef every day.
A tiny white cup of black coffee in afternoon shade,
while an oud or a sax plays brings breath and relief every day.
Another beginning, no useful conclusion in sight‚—
another first draft that I tear out and add to the sheaf every day.
One name, three-in-one, ninety-nine, or a matrix of tales
that are one story only, well-springs of belief every day.
But I wake before dawn to read news that arrived overnight
on a minuscule screen , and exclaim يا لطيف every day.
Copyright © 2020 by Marilyn Hacker. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 9, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.