Poem Hunter
Sometimes I Think Of Pompeii
Mary Angela Douglas (February 5,1951 / Little Rock, Arkansas United States of America)

Sometimes I Think Of Pompeii

sometimes I think of Pompeii
you know, one instant before:
was someone scolding a child

did the tears of that child
turn to ash, crystalized
for those who came later

collecting the artifacts?
was someone happy
in a new blue dress

or gazing at clouds
for the last time
on Earth.

on earth we know
we are not destined to last
and any instant could be

suddenly, ash,
suddenly frozen for historians
to record.

and then look past.

mary angela douglas 26 june 2017



My goal in writing poems, one goal among many is never to write a completely sad poem. I always leave a light on in the poem or a trapdoor, exit in it to some kind of hope. I totally believe in hope and that no matter whatt the arts should ALWAYS give people hope. So in this poem, well, it's about a horrible human disaster Pompeii you know where people suddenly were covered in molten lava and ash and frozen there for all time and these people had no warning, no warning at all and were caught in that moment, in that ray of light, in that shadow, in that moment of happiness or daily sorrow fixed forever like statues frozen under some kind of fairy tale spell. And they did not know in the moment before: you are in the last moment of your life. And they didn't have any angel or anyone to come and tell them, flee, get away pack up the moving van and get out because it is going to be the last day on earth for this entire city. No one came. Maybe someone had a dream and then forgot it by breakfast and then the moment came, and they were translated to heaven or to some other place, before Christ. But in my poem there is a splash of hope. A blue dress, a child scolded by a loving Mother, a few clouds. And then the peace that comes over the landscape in the centuries that followed when later historians, archeologists came upon the scene that was now serene and no longer suffered from.

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