Negative Capability 

This is my 100th post here on This Written River and I wanted it to be special. A celebration. Sadly, it cannot be. Everyday some new horror is visited on humankind by humankind and I’m finding it harder and harder to understand how we got here and, more importantly, why are things not getting better?

As usual the only way I can express this is in my writing. I have written a short story that was being published by today but I asked them to hold off for a week due to its closeness in subject matter to the recent tragedies across Europe and the middle east. In its stead here is a poem I wrote today.

Negative Capability

In our pocket world it is easily seen

The total story from sublime to obscene

We suck and curl, one wave of grief,

Of outrage, of anger, of disbelief

We know the who, the what, the where, the why

But when asked ‘what the feel?’ we shy.

Like the horse held in place beside the passing train

We should not rear and stamp at other’s pain.

Do not lie, you do. We parrot kindness

Our sympathies, as it’s required of us

But do you kneel on the floor and grab,

Blindly smearing blood on the concrete slab?

Do you feel the pennies placed on your eyes?

Or cold metal shudder at those you despise?

Do you smell the cobalt air and feel the sting

Of tears of guilt and shame, that fear could not bring?

Do you put a head, fearful, to a chest

And listen if a heart still beats in that breast?

We see Paris, Lebanon, through the pane of glass

Flat in our palm and wipe a finger to scroll the past.

If that window cracked and our hand fell through

To touch the fear, would our minds attune?

Would we understand it’s all too few

That, though we’re all in touch, feel for you.

A lot of people are blaming religion at this point but a great tenet of Faith has always been ‘Do unto others’. So today: Love thy neighbour. Stay safe.

P.S. Negative Capability is a phrase coined by Keats and is explained well here: 


One thought on “Negative Capability 

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