We tell the story every year—
how we peered from the windows, shades drawn—
though nothing really happened,
the charred grass now green again.
We peered from the windows, shades drawn,
at the cross trussed like a Christmas tree,
the charred grass still green. Then
we darkened our rooms, lit the hurricane lamps.
At the cross trussed like a Christmas tree,
a few men gathered, white as angels in their gowns.
We darkened our rooms and lit hurricane lamps,
the wicks trembling in their fonts of oil.
It seemed the angels had gathered, white men in their gowns.
When they were done, they left quietly. No one came.
The wicks trembled all night in their fonts of oil;
by morning the flames had all dimmed.
When they were done, the men left quietly. No one came.
Nothing really happened.
By morning all the flames had dimmed.
We tell the story every year.
Natasha Trethewey's Other Poems
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Comments about this poem (Incident by Natasha Trethewey )
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
(27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
William Butler Yeats
(13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(August 19, 1902 – May 19, 1971)
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