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An American Lament

An American Lament

Barry J. Trick ’63 March 01, 2021
An alumnus draws from lessons learned in Father Adrian McCarthy’s literature classes and shares his ideas and emotions on the pandemic through his poetry.

As a UD student in the 1960s, I took pride in the way our campus was alive with the challenges and relevant issues of the day. In addition to classroom and campus discussions, those of us in one of Father Adrian McCarthy’s literature classes contributed poems or prose to the exchange of ideas and shared emotions. Encouraged by today’s concerns and experiences at UD and every campus, I am attaching a recent poem focusing on the pandemic in our country.


An American Lament

At this point who would have thought that we would

Still be staggering under the mounting weight
     of our collective loss —

The loss of elder and infant, of neighbor and stranger, the loss of family.

Still be staring down empty streets and silent parklands,

Still straining to hear familiar melodies, not the shrill keening

Of American voices in the dawn and dusk of darkened days.

216,904 is an aching wound, not a sad and simple number.

And what number will replace it when no sum is comforting?

How can we tally the empty seats around the kitchen table

and not see faces? How ask about the school day

When this school calendar is now blank and shelved?

How can we leave the porch light on or listen for
the footstep

On the stairs, when some workdays now never end.

Isolated and alone, the suffering cling to their humanity

In compassionate hearts, cling to their divinity

In whispered prayers and resolute hope.

Our strength is now the strength of many

Because as Americans — roused, pledged, and resolute —

We respond to every challenge more determined that before,

As ready for each sacrifice

As in every war.     

Brothers in business