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Little Poem Written at Five O-Clock in the Morning
David Budbill


All this violence: wars and cruelties—
collective and individual—
carnage of all kinds,
now as always
back to the beginning of time.
Our kind endlessly slaughters itself;
its appetite for self-destruction is boundless.
Yet and still every day the sun rises,
white clouds roll across the sky,
vegetables get planted and grow,
and late in the afternoon someone
sits quietly with a cup of tea.

From Happy Life (Copper Canyon Press, 2011).
Used by permission of the publisher.


David Budbill (1940 - 2016) was born in Cleveland, Ohio to a streetcar driver and a minister's daughter. He is the author of seven books of poems, eight plays, a novel, a collection of short stories, a picture book for children, dozens of essays, and the libretto for an opera. A one-time commentator on National Public Radio's All Things Considered, David received numerous awards in the course of his career. Learn more about him at


Post New Comment:
A celebration of hope amidst the carnage of humankind's history. A well crafted & powerful poem. Thanks, David.
Posted 04/28/2017 05:14 PM
Really like this sad but true poem; I feel just the same.
Posted 04/28/2017 03:18 PM
Thank you, so timely and beautiful for this day.
Posted 04/28/2017 11:13 AM
Larry Schug:
I feel the same way, violence and peace, all in the same day. Human beings are a mystery. It's why we need poems such as this.
Posted 04/28/2017 08:14 AM
from a well of insight! beautiful.
Posted 04/28/2017 07:12 AM
Jean :D:
Even though verse one unfortunately is true, verse three brings us back to a calming, peaceful, way of life. Great closure for each day.
Posted 04/28/2017 06:44 AM

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