During my conference at the University of London, I visited the British Museum and stumbled upon a powerful exhibit on living and dying in various cultures. This poem accompanied a series of poignant photos, and I was compelled to write the poem on the palms of my two hands.


Sometimes things don’t go, after all,
from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don’t fail.
Sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.

A people sometimes will step back from war,
elect an honest man, decide they care
enough, that they can’t leave some stranger poor.
Some men become what they were born for.

Sometimes our best intentions do not go
amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen; may it happen for you.

— Sheenan Pugh