Land of the Free and Dead

I wrote this poem in 2015. Seven years later the problem of children being killed by guns in America has only escalated. How much mental illness in fact begins with living in a country where it does not feel safe to go to the grocery store, first grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, high school, college, a movie, a doctor’s office, your place of employment, a concert?

As poets we write about what we feel and witness. As poets we record-keep the actions of a culture. As poets we express in a few words the horror and beauty of this world. May the horror move you to action. May you find a way to preserve the beauty of this world, so that our children have the chance to bear witness to it.

Yours in poetry,


5 thoughts on “Land of the Free and Dead

  1. Carol, Thanks so much for commenting. Such heartache that continues in this country. I was an educator for 17 years and remember the last years getting more and more stressful with the worry of violence in our school. One thing we can do in Oregon is to get involved with new legislation and keep working on improving responsible gun ownership. Yours in poetry, Carey

  2. Hi Carey,

    We all have so much grief in our hearts. I am hearing some of my grandchildren don’t want to go to school (high school). Your poem expresses what parents are dreading every day and the trauma inflicted on their children.

    A poignant and beautiful poem. And tragic that you wrote it in 2015.

    Thanks, Carol


  3. Wow! Takes my breath away. And breaks my heart…

    “number of safe days my boy can attend school?”….

    “Is there a formula I can use to decide when to withdraw him from class?”

    “all our promises of safekeeping are lies.”

    This poem breaks my heart…. Hard to believe that we can’t stop these senseless killings. Our species is very very sick. Will we recover?

    Send you a big hug. Love, ruth


  4. Excellent writing, and so very sad that it’s only gotten far more worse.

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