18 June 2016
In the wake of tragedies going on around the world, especially with the Orlando shooting, a poem by Maggie Smith that tackles “how hard it is to love this world as it is, and to teach my kids to love it”, has gone viral on the internet.
In the poem titled “Good Bones”, which got wide attention after the Orlando massacre, the poet writes: “Life is short and the world is at least half terrible”.
The poem ends with: “This place could be beautiful, right? You could make this place beautiful.”
Since it was published online on Wednesday, the poem has been shared thousands of times on social media by writers and celebrities from Caitlin Moran and Charlotte Church.
“My Twitter is going haywire. Thank you for the kindness. I’m so surprised and moved that one short poem has meant something to so many people,” Smith wrote on Thursday.
The award winning poet published the poem, “Good Bones”, in the new issue of American literary journal, Waxwing on Wednesday.
Readers and fans have described the poem as “a timely”, “necessary” and “heartbreaking and perfect”,
When asked about the role of art, and poetry specifically, in the wake of a tragedy like Orlando, she says: “Sometimes I forget that poetry can do real, tangible work.
“It’s a ‘machine made of words,’ after all, as William Carlos Williams famously wrote. It can soothe us. It can articulate things we’ve felt but haven’t put into words.
“Granted, I would prefer better gun control, better mental health support—and we do need to do better in the U.S. by our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.
“That’s the big, necessary work we need to be doing right now. But I also see how poetry can be a light when things get dark.”
Read the poem:
— SHIRA (@Shhhiraaa) June 16, 2016